One of my favorite times is Thanksgiving… an easy menu, family, and how I love to set the tables and enjoy the fall flowers. I am in the thick of planting winter containers and picking up outdoor greens, birch branches, magnolia leaves, and various fun additions to use… but I can never pass all those gorgeous indoor flowers!
Yes, I am in a bit of heaven surrounded by gorgeous colors and a wide variety of blooms in the cold flower case, so I had to purchase a few beautiful stems to play with.
I picked gorgeous Hydrangea, Cherry Brandy Roses, an amazing hot pink Peony (my favorite!), a soft purple Queen Anne’s lace, pink and orange Ranunculus, Allium spray (that is called pink but is more purple in color), and a variety of Berzelia, which I also like to use outdoors.
I opted to use three birch bark covered containers that I also purchased at LD Trading Co, in Northbrook, IL. I have two tables to dress so I put a rectangular container on the smaller table and the two squares on the larger table of 12 with various votives and candles.
I always like to bring out all my good and also playful dishes, as a crowd of 20 requires me to use most all dishware. I prefer to use placemats and runners rather than table cloths because I like the look. I found these fun paper place mats at Gethsemene Garden Center in Andersonville called “kitchen papers”. This design is “Archival Floral”.
You can have as much fun with the flowers at the grocery store, just make sure to mix them up and choose a color palette that works for your fall thanksgiving table. You can use ball jars, old various sized vases, pitchers for your containers, get creative and enjoy the process!
I love tea any time of the year but when the weather starts to turn and a chill is in the air… there is nothing better than a cup of hot tea! I am constantly trying to cut out the needless calories and at the same time fighting an enormous sweet tooth that I insist comes from my Mother’s Danish side. I credit the Armenian side of the family with every other food group.
I found these teas at first to satisfy my desire for dessert after a delicious “low carb” meal. They are amazing! This is coming from a gal who loves a slice of apple crisp, a warm chocolate chip cookie, and an oozing deep chocolate brownie. I know you may not believe that these teas can foot the bill as a substitute but they are wonderful.
I make a cup every night to satisfy that craving of chocolate, dessert, and the warmth of something a tad bit sweet. I add Truvia instead of sugar and never artificial sweeteners. In the past a bit of honey was usually added but I have to say the Truvia is great alternative.
My absolute favorite is the peppermint chocolate… yummmm! But really I enjoy them all. Please try a cup and let me know what you think. Enjoy!
I was looking for an easy recipe to make that I could freeze if I had left overs. My thinking was then I wouldn’t be tempted to finish the left over dessert. So I have made variations of this recipe but the one below is out of a cookbook “Southern My Way” by Gena Knox, it’s her grandmother Dot’s recipe. Of course brown sugar and butter made into a bar… there were very few left overs! Four bars made it into the freezer and were eaten several days later with a dollop of ice cream.
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons of baking powder
• 1 lb of light brown sugar
• 1 ½ sticks of butter
• 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
• 2 large eggs
• 1 ½ teaspoons of “good” vanilla
• 1 cup chopped pecans
• ¾ cup of chocolate chips or butterscotch chips (optional)
• Preheat oven to 350˚
• Sift dry ingredients together and set aside.
• Melt butter and brown sugar in a large saucepan over a low heat till melted.
• Let cool slightly then whisk in eggs and vanilla.
• Transfer to a larger bowl and add in dry ingredients ½ cup at a time.
• Fold in pecans and chips then pour into a greased (buttered) 8 ½” x 11” baking dish.
• Bake for 40-45 minutes until center is a bit gooey but somewhat set.
• Let cool and then cut into squares… or whatever shape you prefer!
Summer is all about grilling, farmers markets, and easy meals. So this simple but delicious combination is just how I like to cook.
I like to salt & pepper any meat for several hours or overnight. It helps with flavor and tenderness. I added a small baste of “UB”, that’s “Urban Barbecue” sauce. Delicious when you don’t have time to make your own. I grilled the meat on a high flame approximately 6 minutes per side.
Fresh vegetables from the farmers market sautéed in olive oil, lemon, sea salt, and pepper. I added leeks, padron peppers, banana peppers, garlic, and okra… makes a perfect side dish.
We had a great two days in Asheville, NC. Our first stop was the Biltmore Estate. The tour through the house was amazing. The drive up to the home was beautiful and the gardens, greenhouse, and plant varieties were spectacular! Fields of sunflowers, rose gardens, wisteria canopies, succulents in abundance, and beautiful water gardens… borders of perennials… I was on a visual overload!!! We stayed at an old beautiful hotel “The Grove Park Inn”… historical and lovely. The small town is nestled in the Smokey Mountains filled with wonderful restaurants and shops. A perfect weekend getaway.
Sometimes we connect with others in a way we never thought possible… and sometimes that connection is with a special pet. My Kitchen Girl… my best friend, Callie passed away. It has taken me a few weeks to write about her passing. She was my constant companion. If I moved to another room she was right by my side. In the kitchen she peered at me from under the kitchen table, watching my every move. If I was baking and mixing then she was right at my feet, waiting for her turn to lick the beaters! Yes, it was always my treat to her for watching over me.
My sweet girl Callie was unlike any other dog I have had. She was huge… gentle… soft… calm… sweet… watchful… and loving. If I was upset or sick she would know. She would find me and become my lap dog, sitting next to me on the sofa, her head perched in my lap. Her presence calmed me down and made me feel better always. When I walked into the house she waited for me and when I left she looked at me as if to say don’t worry I’ll be watching the house, but come home soon.
As a puppy Callie had two operations on both knees, I spent many nights laying with her on a pile of quilts stroking her soft ears and keeping her calm. We became the best of friends then and I know she spent the rest of her life giving back to me tenfold. At night she continued to expect to sleep with us, so my 110 lb Great Pyrenees nestled herself between us most nights. Many mornings I would wake up with that sweet face
resting on my pillow. I can’t explain how much I miss my girl.
I will have more dogs, but I am not sure I will ever have a friend like Callie. She was my big polar bear, my little cookie, and my dearest friend. If you are not a dog person you will not understand my sadness and the many tears I have shed. She was not just a dog to me… she was my girl, who I am forever grateful to have had in my life.