Tuesday, April 14, 2009

An Economic Recovery Plan for An Old Claw-Foot Bathtub!

This claw-foot tub has been painted with a glossy oilbase enamel. Love the lighthouse painting for $100.00. Image from Coastel Living

I want an old claw-foot bathtub! I used to have one, although my mother gave it away after years of storing it and waiting for me to find the perfect place to house it. It was just a few years ago, when the hubby and I bought our cottage house in Nashville, that I finally had the perfect place for an old claw-foot tub. So now was my chance to get another old tub! I found one at a great price! Sadly, the hubby and I decided to keep our existing tub to save on bathroom renovation expenses. Plus, we were not quite sure when we would be adding a second bathroom for my dream claw-foot tub (which would never happen, but that is another story). Most importantly, my mother-in-law would have killed me if I had asked her to store the tub in her basement! Needless to say, I still don’t have a claw-foot bathtub! I had found one, did all the research on restoring it, but did not buy it in the end, basically because of storage issues. The good new is that I was just at Scott Antique Market and noticed that one of the outside dealers had several of them and in different sizes. Personally speaking, if you’re in the market for a claw-foot tub, I still think you’re better off (economically speaking of course) buying an old one and having it restored then buying a new one! I’ve done the recovery plan! I’m buying one!!!!!!!

Image here from Sunset

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

An Easter Table In a Pinch!

I love simple, no fuss table settings that can easily be done with the things that you already own, and that can be found in your own cupborads. I'll never forget my mother -in-law ooing & aahing over one I did for Easter while the hubby and I lived in Charleston.

Image here & above Martha Stewart

Image from Carolyne Roehm

Happy Easter!

Monday, April 6, 2009

For Granny!

Last week, I wrote Staging Your House On Pennies. The first suggestions were particularly low-cost (or free)--lots of cleaning, organizing and de-cluttering. Today’s tip:

Updating hardware and accessories--I’ve always admired Restoration Hardware’s bath collections. The Hubby and I had a 1930’s house, so I wanted to take the bathroom to the period of the house. In doing so, I used their sconces, accordian mirror, medicine cabinet, train rack, shower curtain and bath mat. Knowing that the bathroom had to be redone, and not wanting to spend a lot of money on this process, I went through Restoration's catalog with a fine-toothed comb to familiarized myself with all their different bath collections. I then called their outlet stores from my dining room in Nashville, and explained to the sales associates that the vintage look was what I was hoping to achieve. The associates were all very helpful in explaining to me what they had in stock that was very similar to the collections that I was looking for. Note, their outlet store is where they ship items that are being discontinued, or items that may have a scratch or two like my recessed medicine cabinet. End result, I did mix two very similar styles but kept everything in the same finish (polished chrome), and achieved the look I was going for without having to spend a lot of money in the process. I was just at their outlet store this past Friday taking notes on what they had. I have the feeling that I will be doing this drill again, here very soon. How’s that, Granny?

I miss my accordian mirror!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Revisiting "Ham Biscuits,Hostess Gowns, & Other Southern Specialties"!

I've spent my adult life in the South – graduated college here, moved from Roswell, Georgia to Buckhead (Peachtree Road) then back to the Roswell area. After that, it was off to Charleston, South Carolina - Limehouse Street to be exact. From there, headed back to Peachtree Road. Did a very short stint in Greenville, South Carolina. Actually that was the hubby’s stint but I would visit him, so we kept the Peachtree Road pad for me! Then after Peachtree Road we were off to the Country Music Capital of the world - Nashville of course! Now we currently reside in the Atlanta area with visions of retiring to Savannah or Charleston. Perhaps earlier if we can swing it! So, as one would think, I feel like a true Southerner! But, as much as I hate to admit it, I’m really not! My true, blue, Southern, genteel, Hubby points it out to me all the time. Yes, he is indeed a true Southerner, other then a brief stint up in New Jersey where his wife never stayed more then a week, and actually helped him get out of it permanently. No way, was I moving to Parsippany! I bring all this up because I’m thinking about Shrimp and Grits!

When I first landed on southern soil as a junior in college, I was waiting tables like most juniors in collage, and a customer asked me for grits. Being on Southern soil for less than one month, I gave it the old college try (the cook was away from his post) and I was trying to please the hungry customer. When I arrived back to the table, the customer asked me if I was from Chicago. I said not quite but close, and proceded to return the hash brown potatoes back to the kitchen.

With Easter being just next week, and knowing all too well about grits, I’m thinking Shrimp & Grits for brunch. And again I’m turning to Julia for this one. I just heard through the grapevine,"Ham Biscuits, Hostess gowns, and Other Southern Specialties" is coming out soon in paperback. Go grab a copy!

Shrimp And Grits

For the Grits
¾ cup grits
¼ teaspoon salt
6 ounces white cheddar cheese, grated (or a mixture of half cheddar, half parmesan)
3 tablespoons butter

For the Shrimp
4 tablespoons butter
¾ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped green bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup diced ripe tomatoes with a little of their juice
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 pound medium to large raw shrimp, shelled (reserve the shells for the stock)
½ to 1cup shrimp stock (see note)
1-tablespoon tomato paste
1/3 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes of Tabasco sauce
2-tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

To make the grits bring 3 1/2 cups water to a boil and stir in the grits. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cool for 15 to 20 minutes, until the grits are tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the heat, add salt to taste, add the cheese and butter and stir until melted. Keep warm. To prepare the shrimp: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté’ the onion, bell pepper, and garlic until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and juice and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and stir well. Add the shrimp and stir constantly until they began to turn pink, about 2 minutes. Add ½ cup stock and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the tomato paste and stir until blended. Add the cream, Worcestershire, and Tabasco, and more stock if needed to make a spoonable sauce that generously coats the shrimp. Heat thoroughly, being careful not to let it come to a boil. Taste for salt and adjust if necessary. Place a portion of grits in the center of each plate and spoon shrimp over or around it. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Note: To make the shrimp stock: Combine the shrimp shells and 2 cups water and boil until half reduces the liquid. Strain. Thanks Julia!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Stuffing A Easter Basket!

I was at Target yesterday afternoon and, against my better judgment, I strolled by the Easter candy section. Easter is still a week away, and for most folks who are buying candy this would be no big deal! However, buying candy (especially chocolate) for my household is something that is usually reserved until the day of the holiday--Halloween, Valentines Day, or the day before, such as Easter. And this is because Easter happens to fall on a Sunday and we have to go to church and I don’t have time to shop! So it’s not the fact that I’m procrastinating, it’s the fact that the hubby and I (mostly hubby) will devour every single piece of candy instantaneously–especially the chocolate! We will consume everything way before the actual holiday--most likely the day I bring it home. I’ll have to restock! Not only is this high in the calorie department but it also starts to add up financially. In most families, there is always one kid, who hordes their candy and slowly eats on it for weeks and weeks and weeks and in our case, well you can probably figure out neither of us were that kid.

I’ll try buying such things as little sweet hearts, candy corn or in this case jelly beans, to celebrate and to decorate with. And sometimes this will ward off the hubby--but not always!

Image from Martha Stewart Living

Another thing that I like to do is to personalize each basket. For instance, this year for my mother-in-law, I’m doing a gardening type basket filled with gardening gloves, lotions, perhaps a pruner and some gourmet candy (Williams Sonoma above) thrown in for good measure and because she likes it!

For the hubby, as I said earlier--it’s all about the chocolate! And he’s not picky about it either. Reese’s peanut butter cups will do quite nicely for him. Last year, I did throw in something a little bit more South Beach friendly--hard-boiled eggs! Colored of course! So what's in your Easter Basket?