Tablescapes

Done Right!

The hubby and I so look forward to our gourmet group gatherings both in Houston and Maine.  The hosts do such a great job menu planning and presenting the evening’s gourmet delights. Our recent gathering was no exception.

It’s the season for Mardi Gras celebrations which provided inspiration for the table festooned with gold, purple and green.

Each place was set with baubles and masks creating a festive atmosphere that defined the evening.

Every detail right down to the colors of the tulips was done right.

The hostess not only made a king cake, but she dipped oreo cookies in white chocolate and embellished them with sprinkles of Mardi Gras colors.  Each one of us was lucky to take a few home.

The table was so perfect we hated to mess it up and almost opted for eating the delicious dinner featuring jambalaya in the kitchen.

As I was snapping away, one of the fellas said there should be a photo of a person admiring the table.  Do you think it possible he was hoping to be featured on a blog post?

While I was so busy taking pictures, the rest of the gang was in the kitchen scarfing down the muffuletta stuffed eggs!  By the time I got there, only one had been saved for me.  That had to be a good sign that they were very tasty.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave hehind

Joining

Tablescape Thursday

at home, Houston

This Is Houston

Every Houston winter is different, and this one has been no exception.  The first few weeks of 2018 have been colder than usual and mostly gray causing me to stay inside  and focus more on preparing comfort food.

Sadly, there were just enough below freezing temperatures to do considerable damage to yards not designed to tolerate the cold.  Now, much of what is in my yard is cut back to the ground waiting for sunshine and warm weather to bring it back.

As I walked around, I noticed little hints of green that promise regrowth.

Weather here can turn on a dime and today is warm and sunny, perfect for a trip to the nursery to gather a few things for repotting.

For the next few months snapdragons, gerbera daisies and ornamental cabbage will add color to the patio and brighten the gray days that are still to come.

With the planting done, it was a treat to sit on the porch for some leisurely moments enjoying a simple lunch and reading.

Days like this are what make Houston a most pleasant place to be, and I look forward to each one between now and the time we return to Maine’s beauty.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Holidays, Tablescapes

Valentine Day….Another Year

Years may pass with their associated changes, but there’s one thing that remains constant….dinner at home on Valentine Day.  How that started is told here.  Actually, I don’t mind this night at home because it’s a way for me to say thank you to the man who has given me so much that makes life very special.

Over the years nothing much has changed  except for the table where we enjoy the meal.  I like the tradition of using the same things year after year as it’s the only time the hearts make an appearance.

Not so the centerpiece.  Each year I try to do something that adds a new twist to the table. I found this cute little mailbox at Target and by adding flowers and chocolate the something new is created.

Nothing says Be Mine better than hearts and flowers.

Dinner may again be the veal chop that is part of our tradition, and dessert is going to be my attempt to duplicate the cute heart shaped brownies shared by Pinch of Yum.  No way can you go wrong with chocolate and caramel!

While the brownies are baking, I think I’ll take time out for a glass of wine.  It is after 5!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

ramblings, Thoughts

What To Do?

There comes a time when one has to think about what to do next as it applies to housing.  So many things influence that decision particularly health, lifestyle, empty nest.  The hubby and I are thinking we may be at that point now, but making a decision involving change is not easy.

We live in a house we love.  It is one that we dreamed about for years before finally building, and it is pretty near perfect except for the fact that we no longer need all the space.  Our daughters are gone, I’m not working in my studio as much which means the entire second floor goes unused except for those few days a year when a relative visits.

In addition, we spend half the year in Maine where we are fortunate to have another house.  Thanks to having frequent guests, its space is much more utilized, but it is not a forever home.

So, what do we do?  It makes sense in Houston to downsize.  To that end we’ve looked at so called luxury apartments thinking it makes sense to rent rather than buy.

We’ve looked at condos that reach high into the sky and open to either lovely views of Houston or rooftops with mechanical equipment and parking.

We’ve checked out midrises that seem a bit more intimate than the multistoried condos and apartments.

We’ve visited some lovely townhome developments, but a townhome doesn’t satisfy our desire to have a lock and leave place.

So, what’s a couple who’s happy in place but realizing it may no longer make sense do?  Do any of the rest of you face this conundrum and how have you addressed it? Right now I’m feeling like Scarlet O’Hara whose approach to a hard decision was often to think about it tomorrow.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Maine, photography

Tour Guide

BrimstoneNo place has ever captured my heart like the coast of Maine where exploring the islands is an ongoing treat.

Indian IslandNo matter how many times I see the same sight, it never fails to thrill me.

islandWith more than 3000 islands off the coast, there is no shortage of ones to explore.

Maine islandA few of the uninhabited ones are protected by individuals or organizations desiring to keep their natural beauty.

Eagle IslandRoughly 14 islands boast a year round population, seldom more than a few dozen though that number may increase dramatically come summer and the return of folks who enjoy a different lifestyle.

Maybe you’d like to find out for yourself what the coast of Maine is all about.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Weekly Photo Challenge

Food, Tablescapes

Winter = Comfort Food

What is it about winter that turns our thoughts to comfort food?  I guess it’s because winter means colder temperatures, inclement weather and, all too often, gray skies.  All those things make me want to stay inside which generally means spending more time in the kitchen.

For several days I craved chicken pot pie, so I finally broke down and made one.  I didn’t have the traditional ingredients so it was time to look in the pantry and refrigerator to see what might work.    On hand were a couple of chicken breasts, sweet potatoes, leeks, green beans,  mushrooms and a sheet of puff pastry.

While the chicken breasts were cooking in salted water, I chopped and readied the vegetables.  I steamed the sweet potatoes and green beans for a few minutes and sautéed the leeks and mushrooms in olive oil to soften everything up.

Once the chicken cooled enough to cut into bite sized pieces, all the ingredients were mixed together along with salt and pepper to taste and a teaspoon of herbs de provence. Now all that was left was to make a basic white sauce with a little parmesan mixed in and rolling out the puff pastry.

All done, the pot pies were ready to pop into the oven to bake until the pastry was a golden brown.Since the mixture proved to be quite generous, I thought it would be fun to make individual servings in these Polish pottery vessels.  Also, they would make it easier to serve as pot pie can be kinda messy.

They also became the starting point for an easy table setting.  

Flowers and candles were already on the table so adding denim chargers

and woodblock placemats and napkins that I got in India completed a table as comfortable as the food that would be served.  Have I ever mentioned how much I like to keep things simple?  

Oh, I should tell you the pot pies were scrumptious so the nontraditional ingredients combined in a most successful dish.  Now if I can just remember how it was done, I’ll make it again!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind