India Inspired

There was never a doubt that this beautiful meticulously handwoven runner from India would be the inspiration for a tablescape and dinner for our gourmet group when it next met at our house.

The design elements in the piece are many, but the primary ones are symbolic of the images seen again and again in Rajasthan.  I still marvel at its artistry  and treasure the runner as a favorite possession.

My first thought was for the table to be as elegant as if it were in a maharajah’s palace which meant bringing out the china, crystal and silver.  Good idea but it proved to be a bit much so began the process of simplifying.

I wanted nothing to take away from the beauty of the fabric so glass candle holders and vases as a centerpiece allowed the colors and pattern to show through.

Gold chargers did survive the cut and became the backdrop for varied colored plates that not only played off the thread colors  but were more subtle and took nothing away from the beauty of the runner.

IMG_0356With napkins of gold and burgundy and etched stems with different patterns, the table was simple with touches of elegance that fit my comfort zone.

IMG_0357To this point the only thing missing was the flowers. Choosing roses was a no brainer as in India we were showered with rose petals upon arriving at every hotel.  As luck would have it, Trader Joe’s had the perfect colors, and the tea roses nestled beautifully in their globes.

IMG_0354With memories of India swimming in my head, there was never a doubt that the food would also be inspired by that adventure.  I opted for chicken tikka masala seasoned with spices gotten in Dehli, and to my delight the hubby found Kingfisher ale at Total Wines.

I have to admit that Indian food met with resistance from some of the group, but the ale was a big hit!  Hey, isn’t challenging the taste buds part of the planning for a gourmet group meal?


Tablescape Thursday



This Is Houston

IMG_0401Sitting on 300 acres in the heart of Houston’s museum and medical center district is Rice University, consistently ranked in the top 20 U.S. colleges and universities.   With all its land, Rice could be a much larger school, but it serves less than 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students.  Interestingly, the students reflect Houston’s cultural diversity.

IMG_0404This time of year strolling the campus is lovely with azaleas blooming profusely.

IMG_0421Paths and streets are shaded by arching limbs of old live oak trees. 

IMG_0407Architecturally, Rice is a gem.

IMG_0410Arches are a common feature,

IMG_0409and it is not unusual to see photographers, amateur and professionals alike, shooting among them.

IMG_0424As time has passed,  arches have taken on a more modern look though the building materials have remained the same.

IMG_0431One building on campus has a look all its own, and it’s not surprising that it would be the art center.

IMG_0438Now Rice is not a football powerhouse, but the stadium is huge seating more than 70,000.  Back in the early 70’s a Super Bowl was held there and not too many years ago was one of my all time favorite concerts featuring Billy Joel and Elton John.  What a combo!

Yes, Rice University is one of those places in Houston that is truly worth a visit.  It is also a great resource for continuing education.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind


Simple Truth

flowers/springMy desire in life is to make a difference somehow, some way.  That being said, I’m never quite sure how to make that happen.  Today I heard a prayer credited to St. Francis and realized that maybe I’m making the challenge harder than it should be.  I share his words with you hoping that you, too, will realize that making a difference is not as hard as we sometimes imagine.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much see
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Carry on, my friends.  Together we can all make a difference.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind


Dishin’ It & Diggin’ It


This Is Houston

In Houston, the old continually gives way to the new meaning that much of  what represents its history has been lost.  Smack dab in the middle of this city, however, is an oasis where a few old buildings telling something of a different time have been located.

This is Sam Houston Park surrounded by the tall buildings that are Houston’s skyline and busy freeways.  It is 20 acres first established as a park in 1899.

I’m thinking this sprawling oak tree may be as old as the park.

In addition to its open space where people gather for quiet moments or to play a noontime game, the park tells a story of various segments of society.

There is a modest cottage nestled there

alongside a mansion that belonged to prominent citizens, including William Marsh Rice who founded Rice University.

Another has all the conveniences that were available in 1905.

There is an church built by immigrants in 1891

and a cottage once belonging to freed slaves that dates back to 1823.

Though little is left of the original belongings, the houses contain pieces that are representative of the period in which they were built.  These have been donated or carefully curated by The Heritage Society, a nonprofit that maintains the buildings.  The park itself is a City of Houston Protected Landmark and a State of Texas Historical Site.

Former governor John B. Connally stands tall in its midst welcoming visitors like you and me to Sam Houston Park.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind 



Chili and Beer

During the three weeks of rodeo in Houston tastes turn to cowboy food like Bar-B-Q, smoked meats and chili.

When any of those are prepared at home, the table has to have some kind of western theme meaning it’s time to pull those straw hats off the shelf.


Mixed with a few farm animals, they make a simple centerpiece.  Livestock of all kinds is shown and sold during rodeo time and generates much of the money awarded to young FFAers who’ve worked so hard raising show quality animals.

Now I don’t have much in the way of tableware that would be used around a chuck wagon, so some creative thinking is required.  Denim chargers get the place settings started.

Polish pottery isn’t very western, but I picked the pieces most solidly blue thinking they would blend into the chargers.

I know I have some bandanas somewhere that I’d like to have used as napkins, but darned if I could find them.  Cowboys do wear some striped shirts which was reason enough to choose these.  And what better time to use the cow napkin rings?  They are one of those things I have no idea where they came from but am glad to have this day.

chicken chiliYou know, cowboys like to keep things simple and this table is just that and perfect for the chili that is cooking away in the kitchen.  It is my favorite white bean/chicken chili that would be tasty around anybody’s campfire especially with an ice cold Lone Star beer!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind


Tablescape Thursday

Weekly Photo Challenge

Out of the Fog

L 'HermioneHermione is a replica of a frigate that ferried General LaFayette to the United States so that he could rejoin the Americans in their battle to gain freedom from the English.

l'hermione/fogSailing along the coast of Maine she appeared as a ghost ship coming out of the fog.

l'hermioneSeen she was an impressive vessel with sails unfurled

l'hermioneand cannons firing as she came into port.


Weekly Photo Challenge

Food, Recipes

Easy Fixins

Do you ever have those days when you’ve been busy all day and when it comes time to preparing dinner you’re out of gas? That’s when I hope there’s something in the pantry or refrigerator that will combine in a simple to fix and tasty meal.

IMG_0291This night there were two salmon filets and a bunch of asparagus, and in just a few minutes they were in the oven roasting away.

IMG_0297While they were cooking, I whisked together a tangy sauce of key lime juice and soy sauce to pour over the fish and asparagus.

IMG_0302In less than half an hour, a healthy and satisfying dinner was ready to go on the table.

Roasted Salmon and Asparagus

2 salmon fillets, skin on

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

1/4 c. fresh lime juice

1 T. soy sauce

1/2 t. sugar

1 t. Ground coriander


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut dry ends from asparagus. Arrange salmon and asparagus in shallow baking pan,  season with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil.

Roast until salmon is no longer pink in the middle and flaky and asparagus is tender but still a little crisp, 20-25 minutes.

Whisk together lime juice, soy sauce, sugar and coriander. Spoon sauce over fish and asparagus and serve.

Now, that’s what I call simple and while the salmon and asparagus were roasting, there was even time to sit for a few minutes!  I guess I could have fixed a salad, too, but sitting was just too hard to  resist!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind