August

August

March 31, 2014

HELLO AUSTIN!

 
The Ties That Bind
 

It all happened so quickly. A discussion. Questions about goals and thoughts for the future. Possibilities. Long time friends moving on with life. Then came an interview. Have you ever had to interview for an important job while at the same time, being under the weather with the flu? Well, he overcame that and then came the offer, the very next day. WHOOP!

Here we go. Packing, planning, shopping, traveling, long work hours at the current job.......finding a new place to live...a tad overwhelming. Yet, it is all positive. Decisions in life, along with those rare opportunities that come along, can change our future. Perhaps what matters most is your support group which surrounds us. Family...it's everything!


A big sister who has cared for him like her own child. Twelve years difference in age and yet, so very close. She is like a mother lioness who has always been fiercely protective of her brothers. She has been known to "take her earrings off" on a few occasions when it comes to "the boys!" He knows he is loved.

 
Oh lawd...those boys! They constantly kid each other and no matter how old they become,
 they never stop entering "the gauntlet!"
 

They have been known to act civilized on a few occasions!
As life moves forward, we realize what a significant change this is in the family.
 I marvel at what good siblings they are to each other..especially
 how the three older children have taken care of the baby brother.
He has been blessed with Jenn and Cat, who have certainly taken care of him as their own,
especially while we were living in Maine.


And so, we're off!

 
The Texas Bluebonnets were gorgeous!
The closer we got to Austin, the more plentiful they became!


We have arrived!



Love the view from the balcony! Green space can be good for the soul!

 
 Packing somewhat completed, it was time to celebrate. North Austin is so beautiful!


Jenn used to live in Austin, so she knew just the place for an evening of relaxing,
 meeting old friends for happy hour and a celebratory dinner!


We did not mind a two hour wait with this festive atmosphere and view of Lake Austin!


This was such a fun and festive atmosphere with incredible views of the hills of Austin and
those lovely lake homes tucked around everywhere!


Music, watching the boats and ducks swimming on the Lake...it was all so fun!


Who wouldn't want a boat on the lake and docking right up on the restaurants on the lake?


Good times remembered!


We did it! The move is completed, all safe and sound. Yes, there will be a period of adjustment to a new city, a new job, making new friends.....but perhaps it will be a little easier knowing and remembering you always have the safety net of family!
 
From the wise words of Mr. Happy......


You Are The Best
Be Happy
We Love You!


 

March 28, 2014

SPRING GARDEN PARTY

 

“She was so Southern that she cried tears
that came straight from the Mississippi,
and she always smelled faintly of
cottonwood and peaches.”
~Sarah Addison Allen, Garden Spells

 
My mother often gave garden parties. She also attended garden parties on a regular basis when living in Vicksburg. Hmmmm, perhaps that is why I was left in the care of Miss Mary so often,  since she was in her whirlwind of social activities! I can certainly understand that now that I'm older. It was either the Ladies Auxiliary, The Junior League, the local medical society wives, the Presbyterian Women's Club, The Vicksburg Garden Club, The Knife and Fork Club.....such an endless list of luncheons. These types of ladies luncheons are a tradition in the south, even today. Ladies luncheons, bridal showers, birthdays are still celebrated at the best tea rooms across the south.
 
In fact, the Divine Miss M will be attending a bridal shower at The Swan House in Atlanta in a few weeks. I posted about our day trip to the Swan House a few years ago. It was a most marvelous Mother/Daughter day and one of the tried and true southern traditions I cherish! You can read about our day trip here!
 
 
This is the new springtime dress she ordered for the luncheon!
 
 
When I have hosted bridal showers or ladies luncheons in the past, I love serving some of mother's best fruit salads, a good chicken salad, a southern asparagus casserole, assorted petite muffins, sweet peach tea and peach Bellini's! And you must have a sweet ending that they will remember! If you ever host a shower or luncheon, you may want to serve this marvelous Mushroom Crust Crab Quiche! It will have your guests swooning and asking for your recipe! Oh how I love the south and the tea rooms.....I think Miss M and I need to plan another Mother/Daughter luncheon at The Swan House......."I'll throw on my pearls and Be Gone with the Wind, faster than you can say Puh-Cahn Pie!! "
 
 



MUSHROOM CRUST CRAB QUICHE
~A Taste of Pisgah
5 T. Butter
½ lb. mushrooms, chopped finely
½ cup crushed crackers
1 ¼ t. dried tarragon
¾ cup chopped scallions
¾ cup Monterey Jack Cheese
¾ cup shredded Swiss cheese
¾ cup small curd cottage cheese
¼ cup ricotta cheese
3 eggs, beaten
½ t. red pepper
2 T. sherry
6 ounces of crabmeat

 
 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt 3 T. butter in a skillet. Add the mushrooms and sauté until tender. Remove from heat. Stir in the crushed crackers (saltines) and 1 t. tarragon. Press into an oiled 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 1 minutes. Melt the remaining 2 T. of butter, add the scallions and sauté until tender. Spread the scallions over the cooked mushroom crust. Blend together the shredded jack and Swiss cheeses, the cottage cheese, ricotta and beaten eggs. Season with the remaining ¼ t. tarragon, cayenne and Sherry. Fold in the crabmeat. Pout over the mixture of onions and bake for 40 minutes. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving! Divine!!

 

Be Your Most Beautiful

March 27, 2014

CREAM CHEESE BISCUITS


Southerners have been baking biscuits for a long, long time.
This is a vintage recipe.
 
 
 Most of the family in the Delta had "help" that were probably the best cooks
 in all of the southern states combined.
These lovely woman could whip up a batch of biscuits
every morning with their eyes closed.
 
 
They were hot and buttery, served on little vintage plates,
with a side serving of homemade jam or local honey!
 
 
Our grandmothers ensured we children had a hot breakfast when we were visiting.
 Never, did you go out to play with just a bowl of cold cereal.
 I can envision all the cousins sitting together at that big dining table and
 laughing as we were eating those hot biscuits and gravy!
There was nothing left on our plates except crumbs.
 

 Then you could hear the chairs scooting back on the wood floors and the
clanking of plates being stacked in the kitchen sink.
The screen door creaked open and slammed shut.
Off to play on a beautiful day.......
 



Cream Cheese Biscuits
1 (1/4-oz.) envelope active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 (8-oz.) package cold cream cheese, cut into pieces
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
Parchment paper 
2 tablespoons butter, melted

 
Preheat oven to 400°. Combine yeast and warm water in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; cut cream cheese and cold butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender or fork until crumbly. Combine yeast mixture and buttermilk, and add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 6 to 8 times (about 30 seconds to 1 minute), sprinkling with up to 1/4 cup additional flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Roll dough to 3/4-inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter, rerolling scraps once. Arrange biscuits on 2 parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
 Bake at 400° for 13 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter.

 


March 26, 2014

MOVIN' ON UP....AUSTIN CITY LIMITS

 
 HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU!

It's always bittersweet when you're a mother. Congratulations are in order for child #4, boy #3 and the youngest of the family. He is off to Austin to begin a new career and a fantastic job which I think was worth waiting for. College grads don't necessarily begin their dream job right after graduation, so at last, it's the opportunity he had been searching for after receiving his degree from Texas A&M. He was able to develop a fantastic work ethic for the past five years at his current company. Our personal journeys are never without purpose. The weekend was dedicated to finding a new home in our state's capital....the exciting city of Austin, Texas!
 


We have traveled this road many, many times going down to Waco for soccer tournaments and visiting the children down at Texas A&M. First stop has always been at the Czech Bakery in West, Texas! The car automatically pulls into the parking lot as we begin to anticipate those delicious kolaches they are known for!


You can see this is one busy bakery. But the service is fast and the wait is short!


Decisions, decisions.....sausage and cheese or apricot cream cheese.....maybe both!


I should have picked up a jar of the German Sauerkraut! Next time....just days away!


Yes, it was a gray day.....spring showers and humid


After viewing a few "make do possibilities" (not really thrilled with them),
THIS WAS THE PLACE!


Third floor....moving furniture....again......to the third floor!


Love the complex and very well kept landscaping....
green belt view from his balcony.....all good!


Yes, I took a picture of this tree...it was huge.....and....it was lovely!


Pondering his decision 



Lovely pool area....quiet and upscale


The decision was unanimous
 

Late afternoon.....we were tired, hungry, happy and relieved!



Did we celebrate? Of course.....new job, new city....
so different than sending him off to college!
This is a big move, but time marches on and it's all going in a good direction.
Austin is an exciting place to live and even better, only a few hours away from family!


 We love this kid!
This move is going to be different....for him and for me.
I wish I could hit the rewind button.
I hope I can hold it together when it comes time to say good-bye.
I made the Darling promise me we would be going to
 Austin once a month and as he always does, he agreed!

 
Time to eat!


Ah.....now we're talking......a successful day....
we accomplished our goal and now it was time to head home!

 

March 25, 2014

PETITE BLUEBERRY COBBLERS


PETITE BLUEBERRY COBBLERS
KISSED WITH
LEMON AND CINNAMON



I love individual dessert dishes! These portion controlled treats are  never too filling and look so darn cute when serving your guests a yummy sweet delight at the end of your dinner. This recipe will yield four individual servings so it's also the perfect recipe to keep on hand if you are baking for two or perhaps just yourself!


 
 
PETITE BLUEBERRY COBBLERS
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
4 t. sugar
1 t. ginger
1 t. lemon zest, grated
1 t. lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup baking mix, Estelle’s recommends Pioneer
6 T. milk
4 t. sugar

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Spray four (6- ounce) custard cups with non-stick spray.

Combine blueberries, sugar, ginger, lemon zest and juice and cinnamon. Divide between custard cups.

Combine together baking mix and milk in small bowl. Spoon over blueberry mixture. Sprinkle each with 1 t. sugar.  I also sprinkle a little more cinnamon on top of each.

Place on baking pan and bake 20 minutes until golden and bubbly.

I am joining Penny and others on Tasty Tuesday
http://thecomfortsofhome.blogspot.com  

March 24, 2014

CATHERINE'S SPAGHETTI....CELEBRATING MISS ANN

There are some people that you instantly fall in love with!
She leaves a little sparkle wherever she goes!
Miss Ann turned, dare I say it.....89 years young!
 
One of the best things to do in order to make a house, a home, is to
celebrate those special family moments!
 Nick and Cat entertained her family with a delicious
 Italian feast in their new home last week. 
The guest of honor was her maternal grandmother!
 
Thanksgiving dinner in 2012
This was our first year back in Texas and we celebrated with extended family
Clearly, Miss Ann has not changed a bit

 
Don't you always wonder what the secret is to aging gracefully? Well, I can tell you that Miss Ann looks glamorous at any event she attends. They know her by name at Nordstrom's!
She loves a good glass of wine and watches her diet!
 She watches her handsome husband Bob's diet also,
although I hear he has been know to sneak in some ice cream when he can!
 

The scrumptious chocolate cake Catherine baked bought


See......there's her glass of Cabernet and she probably blew out her candles in one breath!
She exercises daily.....that is probably her secret for keeping such a stylish figure!
She is certainly a girl after my own heart with her love of jewelry!
 You will always see her in high fashion and stunning jewels!

 
 The lovely Miss Ann (AKA: GRAN) and Mr. Bob
These two clearly have a "love connection!"
 
 
A celebration for All in the Family!
This is what memories are made of!
Nick has bragged on Cat's infamous spaghetti for some time,
so I asked her to please share her recipe with us!
Thank you darling Ann for being such a lovely inspiration to all who love you!
 
 
 
Catherine’s Spaghetti
1lb ground beef 
1lb ground Italian sausage 
1 yellow onion (chopped in Cuisinart)
1/8 teaspoon orange peel chopped fine
4 large cloves of garlic (minced in Cuisinart) 
1large can of diced tomatoes (Hunts)
1 large can of tomato paste (Hunts)
1 1/2 large cans of tomato sauce (Hunts) 
Splash of Worcestershire
1/4 cup Cabernet 
1 teaspoon fresh parsley 
1 teaspoon dried parsley 
2 teaspoons dried basil 
1 teaspoon of fresh basil (finely chopped) 
2 teaspoon salt  
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 
1/4 teaspoon black pepper fine 
1 1/2 teaspoon dark brown sugar 
3 lbs. thin spaghetti noodles 
Fresh Parmesan cheese flakes 

 Cook sausage and beef, drain grease from meat. Add onion and garlic and orange peel stir until all is soft. Add basil, parsley, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper and stir. Add diced tomatoes, paste, and sauce and stir. Add wine, Worcestershire, and sugar then let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Boil the water and add noodles. Drain noodles. Pour sauce on individual servings of pasta. Garnish with Parmesan flakes.


The Franz