Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The H word and Menu Ending October 5th

September is coming to a close and October is almost here. When October rolls in, I take some time to get ready for the ….. holidays…… Yes, the dreaded H word. I know it is only September. I hate any decorations or  music before Thanksgiving but I am a planner and cannot wait for the last minute. So this week, I am putting paper to pen and start making my lists- who is naughty and nice, parties, invites, decorations, costumes, Christmas card, pajamas, and menus. 

Also, I am working down my Fall chore list to get the outside ready for the winter. The garden is winding down but mostly, I am planting this week; grass, perennials and pansies. All the windows, storm windows and screens have been washed and the outside of the house is ready for winter. The pool is half-way closed. 

The living room and bedroom are almost finished. It has taken me way longer to finish these projects than I anticipated. I am sewing the dust ruffle and painting the chair for re-upholstery. 

Lastly, I am painting all the bigger pumpkins I have for decorations. No more orange.... They are getting a couple of layers of paint to make them look more "real". I can't wait to share them with you... but here is a preview with the first coat. 


Red Beans and Rice
Garden Salad



Turkey Apple and Brie Wrap
Sweet Potato Fries


Out to dinner with Family


Garlic Roasted Chicken
Mash Potatoes
Spinach Au Gratin


Chipotle Lime Chicken Nachoes
With guacamole
Re fried Beans with Monterrey Jack Cheese

Sunday Brunch –

Toads in the Hole
Homemade Cake Doughnuts

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Five Things Blogging has taught me

I have been blogging for 7 years. Blogging about cooking, sewing, baking, gardening, family and home-making. 1207 posts. 
My audience is small but the purpose of blogging is not only teaching, I am a professor after all but the discipline of blogging and the community in the blogging world have taught me many lessons but I am going to pick out my top five lessons:

1.    My home is my palette. I never thought of myself as an artist but through blogging, I now think of my home as a blank canvas that I design, whether it is decorating or tablescaping or holiday decorating or party planning. I spend time designing the end results. A sketchpad and colored pencils help focus my decorating and take the process to a level that I had not achieved before.

2.  Blogging require discipline. It is impossible to blog 4 to 5 days a week and be unfocused. The idea of sitting down and writing daily, weekly or monthly requires discipline. I get up at 5 AM every morning to write and plan before the day starts. Homemaking also requires the same discipline. A daily effort to keep a house, garden and family clean, fed, weeded and well-loved is also necessary. My home has never been more organized, better decorated, clean and orderly. My menus are full of exciting meals and the yard has never looked better. Now that does not mean that my house is perfect… far from it but if I hadn’t been blogging, I don’t think I would have been as focused.


3.  My style was not my “real” style. When I started blogging, I thought my style was formal and classic. Cherry furniture, oriental rugs, you know English Country or French Country… turns out I was completely wrong. I love rustic, not too chippy, ironstone, cows and a little elegant. Slowly I have been transitioning my home to more my style and less what I thought was expected to be my style. More me… Funny, my husband asked me what is going on? Deer antlers, a cow head, cotton wreaths… he wanted to know had I finally thrown aside my Yankee roots and became a full-fledged Southerner!!

4.  People appreciate the effort. When you spend extra time to wrap a present, set a tablescape, send a Christmas card you design or have a well-planned party, people or family appreciate the extra effort. Too many times I had rushed to throw something together but now I know that the extra effort sends the message that you care very much about the person. Everyone is busy and the extra time you spent really says you care.


5.  Editing is an important process. To edit the blog, I re-read the articles I write to eliminate any fluff and make sure that I am communicating effectively. Through the last seven years, I have learned that editing my home and life is also an important process. Do the things in my home bring me joy? Do the people in my life bring me joy? If not, I eliminate the fluff, the person, the process, or the item. It is important to make sure that you are fully enjoying your home, friends and any organization you belong to  


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Italian Brunch Torte

As you know, the family eats Sunday Brunch at my home after church. Flavorful, new, inspiring dishes for brunch every week can be a challenge. In addition, brunch cooks while we are away at church. 

This dish is absolutely delicious and flavorful. I was a little nervous about the ingredients and actually tested this dish before serving it to the family. Salami is not a great breakfast item, but this dish is so good that even some friends we had for brunch did not know it was there. 

The only drawback to this dish is the prep time. I learned from the first time making it to prep the night before as much as possible. It really does take 50 minutes to prepare. 

Make sure you let it rest for 20 minutes and put it on a solid surface... the first one I made slipped right off the cake plate but landed face up. It looks terrible but was delicious. So I made another one!


It is worth the effort…. Absolutely delicious and a spectacular brunch dish.

Italian Brunch Torte

  • 2 tubes (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 6 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 7 Eggs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced deli ham
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced hard salami
  • 1/2 pound sliced provolone cheese
Optional (I did not include)
  • 2 jars (12 ounces each) roasted sweet red peppers, drained sliced and patted dry

Preheat oven to 350°. Place a greased 9-in. springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan. Unroll one tube of crescent dough and separate into triangles. Press onto bottom of prepared pan to form a crust, sealing seams well. Bake 10-15 minutes or until set.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add spinach and mushrooms; cook and stir until mushrooms are tender. Drain on several layers of paper towels, blotting well. In a large bowl, whisk seven eggs, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and pepper.

Layer crust with half of the ham, salami, provolone cheese, and spinach mixture. Pour half of the egg mixture over the top. Repeat layers; top with remaining egg mixture.

On a work surface, unroll and separate remaining crescent dough into triangles. Press together to form a circle and seal seams; place over filling. 

Brush with an egg wash. 

Bake, uncovered, 1 to 1-1/4 hours or until a thermometer reads 160°, covering loosely with foil if needed to prevent overbrowning. Carefully loosen sides from pan with a knife; remove rim from pan. Let stand 20 minutes.