Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More Fall Touches!

Victoria Magazine -share their tips on makeing fall wreaths

I would love a fresh fall wreath! In fact, Southern Living and Williams Sonoma both must have read my mind...Williams Sonoma just sent me an e-mail a few minutes ago introducing their new Fall Magnolia Pomegranate wreath. And in this month's issue of Southern Living, they share tips on how to make wreaths with all your fall leaves. I'm not exactly crafty and I don't have a lot of time, but I do I have a nice size magnolia tree and tons of leaves in my front yard that will allow for plenty of mistakes if I decide to give it a go!

Williams-Sonoma Home new Magnolia Pomegrante Wreath

Fresh Market's original magnolia wreath - love their turkey peasant one as well!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hostessing The Thanksgiving Feast?

I would love to host Thanksgiving dinner! It's one of my favorite holidays, but there's a small teeny tiny problem - I seem to be missing a chandelier (I'll talk about that later), a sideboard, and a proper sized dinning room table. Two of the items have been on my wish list for years and years now! I did come very close, just a few months ago, buying a English Regency side board that I loved! But I deeply feared hubby's reaction after all my spending on the fabric for my reupholstering work with Yung Li. No, unfortunately, I did not buy it. Since I do seem to be missing a few key elements for a sit-down dinner; I've not just yet thrown my hat in the ring to host a big Thanksgiving feast! But if I do decide; here are just a few of my thoughts:

I like Thanksgiving to be very simple, perhaps even potluck. I do know that my mother-in-law would be delighted to bring a few dishes, especially if she did not have to host it at her own house! And she'll get father-in-law to whip up his famous oyster stuffing dish and instant mashed potatoes (just joking on the latter). Anyway, dinner will be be covered between us.

Both images from Martha Stewart

The table that I do have in my dining room is a barley twist table, which I bought a while back with the intention of someday using it in my man cave. Yung Li was over a few weeks ago, giving me her thoughts on my bedroom curtain dilemmas, and asked why I had bought such a small table for my dining room. I actually did not buy it for that room and had to explain to her that when I find a table to my liking and budget then I'll grab it. However, I could get away with sitting four very comfortably, and squeezing six around it if I had to. But here's my solution; depending on guests, and taking into account that I probably won't get the table of my dreams before Thanksgiving. What I'll probably do is squeeze two tables together with a really pretty tablecloth. Seating in my household is not a problem - chairs are the one thing that I have plenty of! Enough of me complaining and back to hostessing!

My dining room, yes I know, missing a lot!! The good thing, though, it's not mauve!

I love the thought of sending my guest home with their own personal box full of goodies just like these.

How cute! Image from Williams-Sonoma Entertaining

For some reason, I've had alot of pumpkin recipes on my mind recently! Just last week, Coleen, one of our new docents, introduced me to a new food site "Pinch My Salt". I just had to have the hubby make her double chocolate pumpkin cupcakes for no apparent reason other then the fact that they sounded awfully good. For my Thanksgiving feast though, I would like to do mini pumpkin loafs wrapped in wax paper tied with a ribbon or raffia and packaged with a little pumpkin butter, which I'll pick up locally.

Any other suggestions ? Please let me know - I'm listening!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Enjoying Southern Living!

A few days ago, I was reading Cote de Texas; Joni the author had just written a post on some of the new changes over at Southern Living. Like Joni, I have aways enjoyed more of the decorating side of things; one reason why, I always subscribed to Southern Accents and Cottage Living. When Cottage closed I was sent Southern Living and, like Joni, I'm really enjoying the new changes! They include more decorating photos, yummy looking recipes to try, and gardening for people like me! And, in fact, just this past Sunday (since the Hubby's beloved Saints were off), we took a Sunday drive to Serenbe. Funny thing about this was just a few weeks ago (when we were're getting pummeled with rain here in the Atlanta), I was having lunch with a good friend who went to culinary school (she's a good foodie), and she had mentioned Serenbe's to me. Anyway, A week later, when my Southern Living arrived - there it was, a nice little article on Serenbe! I had to go to check things out!

Here's my report; if you go on a Sunday like me and the Hubby, then go a little early so you can enjoy the bottomless Mimosa, fried green tomatoes, arugula salad, fried chicken and collard greens. That way, you'll have room for the chocolate brownie sundae - which we did not! We had the Best Southern Chili, complements of you know who (Southern Living), waiting for us at home that evening!

Thank You Southern Living!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cooking For DAWGS!

OK I'll admit it, I cook for my dawgs, nothing to fancy though. Lets see, one night it maybe brown rice (after all, it is better for you than white rice) simmered with a chicken bouillon cube. The following night, it may be scrambled eggs with a little cheddar cheese mixed in. Or perhaps one evening it could be a little turkey bacon mixed in with their Kibbles & Bits or Gravy Train - (depending what's on special). Some would say that Rolle and Ellie are spoiled little dawgs! Like their Mamere (my Mother-in-law), whom one night had to cook them rice, and was not the least bit happy about it! I didn't bother further requesting that she cook the rice with chicken stock!

Now my oldest, Rolle, the basset hound, even knows the word pizza. The reason behind this is when his dad was off traveling for work, I would ask Rolle if he wanted to order a pizza. Naturally, his answer was always yes! So off he would go, to sit and wait in the foyer for the pizza man to deliver a nice size box filled with everything to his likening, plus there was no daddy around to hog it all!

Image from Great Settings - One of my favorite entertaining books!

What's really bad is that my youngest, Ellie, who will spit out dog biscuits given to her by the bank teller and dry cleaning people. So I have to politely say that she is still full from her breakfast and I make her thank them profusedly! After we drive off I scorn her and remind her how grateful she should be! Now for both Rolle and Ellie, if the hubby and I decide to go out for dinner for the evening, both of them prefer to wait to eat their dinner (even though they have already been fed) until the Hubby and I have return home to see where we went, and if there are any leftovers! Was it The Fickle Pickle for yummy bacon cheeseburgers or those pitiful Thai and Mexican restaurants that we hate! MSG, and chips and salsa are not in our diet.

The other day I was poking around the Junior League Of Atlanta cookbook (CookNotes) and came across this recipes for dog crackers. Not that I've started any real planning or anything for the holidays. But I thought that this could be something that we could all (Rolle, Ellie, & Hubby) make together and pass out to the neighborhood dawgs for the holidays. I attempted this a couple of years ago but only got as far making cookies for humans, and their poor dawg friends got stuck with store bought biscuits! Just like the ones Ellie spits out!

Dawg Crackers

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup rye flour
1 cup corn meal
2 cups cracked wheat
1/2 cup dry milk
4 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 ounces package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 pint chicken stock
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large, bowl, combine flours, corn meal, cracked wheat, and salt. Combine yeast and water; add to dry ingredients along with stock. Beat egg and milk. add to other ingredients. Turn mixture onto a floured surface, and knead three minutes. Dough will be very stiff. Roll out to a one quarter-inch thickness. Cut dough with cookie cutters. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 45 minutes. Turn off heat and dry crackers in oven overnight. Store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Adding a Few Fall Touches!

Last year, I did a small post on budget friendly Ohhh Fall picks for your home. Now here's what I've done just recently for fall, budget friendly of course! Last week, after work, I went shopping for clothes, which I despise, but I had to due to all of Hubby's cooking lately. The new place that I like to go to here in Atlanta is an outdoor 'mall' that is close by. Easier then dealing with the whole giant mall scene if you know what I mean. So on my way to J.Crew, I walked by Bath & Bodywork's and I quickly noticed Slatkin Candles in the window. This rang a bell with me from a few years ago when I last purchased one of his candles, and the sales associate gave me a few tidbits on his new relationship with Bath & Bodywork's. As some of you may already know, Slatkin candles are not exactly cheap, but they are very nice and I do love the pretty boxes. Now I normally don't buy very many scented candles, but I was in the mood for some fall scents. I paid $9.50, but they are now on sale for 5.00! You get a nice scented Slatkin Candle but just no fancy box, but who cares? Also, I think the small size would make a great little hostess gift. For an interesting tidbits on Elton John, Vera Wang and candles click here. I got the spiced cider. Now what's your favorite Fall scent?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thanks Ina!

Last Wednesday for work I had a potluck luncheon to attend, and I needed to come up with a dish of some sort. I had asked Sylvia, our extroverted, bubbly, elderly volunteer the week before what she would be making, and she quickly called out her famous potato salad with honey mustard dressing. Sylvia quickly asked me what I would be making and I said perhaps brownies. After seeing Sylvia's response, I made sure NOT to say "oh the cheap 99 cent brownies out of the box" (which, truthfully, was what I was thinking). Who doesn't like them? I thought maybe I should put some effort into this potluck. I'm not exactly that busy.

Image from barefoot contess - back to basics

After going through a few of my cookbooks, I came up with a couple of things. I had thought about a squash casserole--'tis the season--or some good comfort food like macaroni & cheese. I then remembered that this past January, I bought Ina' s newest cookbook, Back to Basics. and as soon as I saw this pumpkin roulade I knew I had to try it. Here's my chance, I thought! Hubby normally makes something similar every year for Thanksgiving simply called a Pumpkin Roll but it has nuts in it. Anyway, I am please to report that with Hubby's help I arrived at my luncheon with a beautful pumpkin roulade. Recipe courtesy Ina Garten

For the cake:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup canned pumpkin (not pie filling)
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, plus extra for dusting
For the filling:nocoupons
12 ounces Italian mascarpone cheese
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup minced dried crystallized ginger (not in syrup)
Pinch kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan. Line the pan with parchment paper and grease and flour the paper.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt and stir to combine. Place the eggs and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light yellow and thickened. With the mixer on low, add the pumpkin, then slowly add the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Finish mixing the batter by hand with a rubber spatula. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake the cake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the top springs back when gently touched.

While the cake is baking, lay out a clean, thin cotton dish towel on a flat surface and sift the entire 1/4 cup of confectioners' sugar evenly over it. (This will prevent the cake from sticking to the towel.) As soon as you remove the cake from the oven, loosen it around the edges and invert it squarely onto the prepared towel. Peel away the parchment paper. With a light touch, roll the warm cake and the towel together (don't press!) starting at the short end of the cake. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the filling. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the mascarpone, confectioners' sugar, and cream together for about a minute, until light and fluffy. Stir in the crystallized ginger, and salt.

To assemble, carefully unroll the cake onto a board with the towel underneath. Spread the cake evenly with the filling. Reroll the cake in a spiral using the towel as a guide. Remove the towel and trim the ends to make a neat edge. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve sliced.

P.S. If you make it the night before I would suggest putting the powdered sugar on once you arrive at your destination--I think Hubby missed the side note, but that's ok! And by the way, everyone loved it! Including Sylvia! Thanks Ina!

Monday, October 5, 2009

What's Your Halloween Decorating Style?

I Love this black silk flower wreath, it's simple but...

Today while at work I took Martha's quiz on What's Your Halloween Decorating Style? Don't ask! I did have a few minutes and on the way into work this morning I noticed everyone had their pumpkins and yellow mums out, and I don't....so yeah, I'm in the mood for some Halloween decorating! After taking the quiz, I'm please to report that my Halloween decorating style is undoubtedly Seasonal and Sophisticated! So I'll put this in a nutshell (for me anyway), no matter what season it is, I always think less is always more. I don't have a lot of time for craft projects, but I do love to go to the garden centers for seasonal flowers, to the farmers markets for pumpkins and gourds, and to gather pine cones and acorns to throw in a bowl while walking Ellie. So I guess I would say that I like things simple and quick!

Like This!

And speaking of simple, coincidentally, I was just thinking about a home I saw a few years ago while driving around Savannah. The owner is actually a very talented garden designer with whom I'm acquainted. Her home is a 1940's two story white brick with black and white awnings in a neighborhood in Savannah that I've always wanted to live in. I wish a had a picture but basically, for her Halloween decorating, she had a couple of very big black spiders attached to her house. The spiders of course really popped on her white brick home. Perfect, I thought! I'm still wondering where she got them because I would probably buy a few myself, and I normally don't buy that type of thing due to storage issues.

The pumpkins on the table are more my speed in Halloween decorating! Depending on time, I may attempt the chandelier! All Images from Martha Stewart Living

What's your Halloween style?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Discovering Winterthur!

A few weeks ago, while reading the October issue of Victoria magazine, an article that really captured me was the feature on Winterthur (an old American estate) located in the Brandywine area of Delaware. Within this megalopolis area (Richmond, Washington DC, Baltimore, Wilmington, Phiadelphia, etc. ), Delaware is one place that I have never really spent that much time in--after all, my blog is called Southern Inspirations. My experience up the coast is mostly a few trips to New York, a little time in Boston and the D.C. area. And of course, I can't forget making the trek up I-95 a couple of times to New Jersey, where the Hubby and I almost moved. Also, can't forget my antiquing trip to Brimfield, Ma. with my buddy Cruella. But that is pretty much it!

Just a couple of weeks ago, shortly after discovering Winterthur, I was talking to one of our master gardeners, Leslie, at the museum where I work here in north Atlanta. She coincidentally was getting ready for a vacation up to the megalopolis area and Delaware was one of the destinations on her stop. I quickly chimed in and said oh you have to go to Winterthur! I explained to her how I just discovered it recently inVictoria. As it turned out, she had already been there before and gave me some more history on Winterthur.

This past Friday, thinking I needed a vacation since I have a lot of computer work ahead of me, I decided to pick our Marketing Director Janice's brain. After all, she is from that area, so I thought she could fill me in too. As it turned out, she had been there as well and added that she had been there in the middle of winter and the gardens were absolutely beautiful! Better yet, she told me about some of the fine art classes that they offer.

All images from Victoria

So, If I ever make it out of Georgia in the near future...Winterhur here I come! I'm also thinking I would love to take a few classes there myself and I'm adding that to my list of things to do in my lifetime before I die. Why not?