Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Eggs in a Cloud for Breakfast

This is my first time participating
in "Foodie Friday" at Designs By Gollum
Be sure to check out all the other delicious recipes
posted on her wonderful blog.

While surfing blogland recently, I ran across

some recipes for "Eggs in a Cloud".

I'd never heard of them but
I love to make my hubby smile when
he sits down to breakfast
so I decided to try it.

Hey, he's doesn't take much to make him happy!

First, pre-heat the oven to 400º F.

Cut out a circle from a piece of bread,
using a very glamorous juice glass for a cutter.

Lightly toast the circle, then place
inside an oven proof bowl.
You can just put it on a non-stick baking sheet
if you don't have such a bowl.

I nuked, "gently warmed"
2 pieces of country ham,
cut them in half and
positioned them around the sides of the bowl.

Then separate 2 eggs.
Whip just the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

I hope you have a little hand held mixer
because its not worth dragging out the KitchenAid® for this!

Place whipped egg whites over bread round in mounds
and with the back of a spoon,
form a hollow in the center top.

Place the 2 egg yolks in the hollow.
Bake in oven, being careful
not to over cook them,
until yolk is set and
white is lightly browned.
(about 10 to 15 minutes)

Here is what it looks like with Hollandaise sauce poured on top.
I just use the packaged mix
that comes in an envelope
and add a little fresh lemon juice
to kick it up a notch.

Do you know how hard
it is to pour hot sauce
from a heavy pan while
taking a picture??!!

Later in the week, I tried serving it over smoked salmon

without the bowl this time. (see below)
Hubby said it was just as delicious
and actually easier to eat!

I hope you try making this.
If you do,
won't you let me know how you liked it?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Family Supper Table

EDIT: I am linking this older post to Ann Thibeaults

Saturday Blog Showcase,

because I LOVED this soup!

(and I wanted to play, too)
I think the Blog Showcase is going
to be great fun & I hope to participate frequently.

My daughter, her husband and my 3 grandchildren
are coming to dinner on Friday night.

I wanted to make the kitchen table especially pretty
for them to celebrate autumn's arrival.
This tiled area of our kitchen, which the builder called the sunroom
has 2 full walls of windows plus
the door out to the deck & gazebo.
Lots of light & a nice view, too.

I brought down my new rooster from his perch on the baker's rack.

Nestled him among some greenery, fresh flowers from the garden,
a pretty candle with leaves embedded in it and
a really unique squash as part of the centerpiece.

A view from little Caroline's eye level.

We're serving warm, mulled cider in the mugs with cinnamon sticks
so even the children get coffee cups this time.

They'll be thrilled to graduate
from the plastic cups with the lids & straws!

We are also having chicken, rice, veggies &
homemade, oven-roasted tomato soup
with toasted cheese sandwich croutons,
fresh basil &
parmesan cheese.

The recipe came from Wives with Knives.
I've made it twice & it is DELICIOUS!
Thank you, Cathy.

I have TONS of tomatoes to use up, as you can see!

Here is a close-up of that pretty candle.
It has a glass insert that lets the light show through
the beautiful leaves & greenery inside the wax.

You can do something like this yourself after you have burned
your own candle down till there is enough room for a votive glass.

Just carefully pour off the melted wax & press your glass down into it while warm.
This way your candle will last forever! You just change the tea light inside the votive.

Neat looking squash, huh?

The shadows are getting longer & darkness falls earlier every evening.

I'm really looking forward to having my family join us around the table
and YOU, too!!
I'm glad I could share my preparations with you
& the rest of the participants of
Tablescape Thursday at Susan's
beautiful blog, Between Naps on the Porch.
Be sure to check out her site to see what others have done this week.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tea Party for Granddaughter, Ms. C.

After my last week's Tablescape Thursday debut, I had to scale back a bit this time. It took me DAYS to get it all clean after the dinner party. I just reset the table with everything & plan on having another group of friends over later this week. Its easier to do such gatherings back to back for me but for today, I just did a little table outside.

My sweet granddaughter, Ms. C., is coming over for a visit after kindergarten. She has just turned 5 years old and loves to have tea parties with her dollies. I set things up out on the deck near the gazebo so we can enjoy this beautiful fall weather while it lasts.

On her little wicker table & chair set from her playroom, I've placed a silk cutwork tablecloth (machine made) that I purchased in St. Mark's square in Venice, Italy. I have a cream one that was done by hand & I'll share that with you another day. The Venetians are known for their beautiful embroideries & linens.

Here is a closer look at the table.

I realize that spoon on the right should be placed on the other side of the plate but for the sake of photos....AND to keep the napkin from blowing away, I had to move it. I knew you'd understand.

The dishes, called Magnolia, are handpainted by Portmeirion for the Royal Botanic Gardens. Ms. C. accidentally broke one of the cups last year. I need to try to find a replacement. She felt so bad!

On a little side table, I have an Irish linen buffet scarf with handmade cutwork. I TOLD you I loved that kind of stuff!

To protect it from tea stains, I placed a simple Battenburg lace cloth that I found at a local discount store for $5.
It looks just as pretty & I can relax a bit if she wants to pour the tea. I would never tell her "no" but I must admit, I hold my breath sometimes.
She is very careful & already knows to pass the cream with the handle pointing towards the receiver. I wish you could see how daintily she stirs her tea & how she always gently taps the spoon twice on the rim before putting it on the saucer.....too cute!

The little creamer & sugar bowl below are Royal Chelsea bone china & were made in England. I've had them for YEARS.
The covered dish in the background is from an FTD flower arrangement. I love saving those containers & incorporating them into a tablescape.

The tiny little teaspoon you see in the sugar bowl is by Bucherer of Switzerland & was given to us on a trip to Lake Lugano, Switzerland. It says "Rolex" just above the cross emblem, which is the insignia on the red flag of Switzerland.

We also went to Como, Italy on that trip. It is a gorgeous, lush, privileged area where the wealthiest in the world own property or vacation on private beach fronts around the lake, which lies between Milan and the border of Switzerland.

We ate lunch right over there in the left corner!

A 2-story ferry took us around the Lake, one of the deepest in the world at over 1000 feet. The mansions and gardens around the Lake are owned and visited by the likes of Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni. Mussolini stayed here and the SS headquartered here during WWII. Mussolini was also killed here and later strung upside down in the square in Milan. The Pope vacations here and Pavarotti stayed at times; the heir to the Heinz (ketchup) fortune Teresa Heinz Kerry, now wife of Massachusetts senator John Kerry has a mansion on Lake Como, as does George Clooney. We didn't get to see him. :(

Back to the table and the teapots:

Ms. C. has her own little teapot that I bought her at Miss Molly's Tea Room .

The teapot has " The Special Place" written on the bottom of it and the year she was born. I don't know if they issue a different one every year or not. There's something to further investigate.

Note the paper drip catchers on the spout. A nice little touch and it helps to protect the good linens. I am all about PREVENTION!

My teapot is part of a collectible series, made in England by Windsor. It is titled "The Tennis Match" and has scenes of Victorian tennis players on both sides. Note the time on the clock on the lid...just a wee bit past tea time.

Below is the scene on the opposite side. They are playing tennis in those long skirts! See the time is different on this side of the knob? It seems the match started around 1:30 pm & ended just in time for tea.

The centerpiece flowers of petunias, purple statis and white geraniums are from my garden. The little vase that looks like a shopping bag I bought it in a tea room in Venice, FL where we used to live.

This shows a better view of it and the pretty paper fan shaped napkins, as well. They unfold into a beautiful scalloped circle. I've been meaning to try decoupaging one onto the back of a clear plate, just to see the effect.
*Note to self: Get busy & DO IT!*

The photo below shows more of the flowers I used on the side table. All but the fuji mums are from my garden. Don't you just LOVE the smell of mums? Nothing takes me back to high school & homecoming like that fragrance!

Thank you for coming to tea with us. We both enjoyed sharing it with you.

Please join Susan and the rest of the Tablescape Thursday participants at her blog, Between Naps on the Porch for more wonderfully inspiring ideas. Thank you, Susan, for hosting this lovely party every week.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What do you think this is???

We found this treasure in the attic of my parents’ home. None of my sisters even remember my mom using it so we have no idea what it is. There are little slots on both sides of the metal frame for hanging 12 spoons. Unfortunately, I only have 8.

The lid lifts completely off to revel a VERY thin, delicate glass bowl with a rose colored tint. I’m afraid to wash & polish it until I know the value, if any. Hey, I watch Antique Roadshow! I know all about not cleaning off the patina. Do you think I could use that as an excuse not to clean my whole house? I could claim I’m “preserving its antique value”.

EDIT: I have been told by Kathleen Wheeler at Silver Collect Blog that this is a combination sugar bowl/spoon display. I'm guessing it is probably from the early 1900's. There is an interesting article on such items here. We think it has the original glass bowl & if so, that would make it more valuable due to its fragile nature. I have cleaned the spoons, which took FOREVER !!!
Then I tried TarnX on the rest of the frame. Sadly, none of the dark color came off. I suspect it is not silverplated but rather a different metal altogether.

Its still a neat treasure & I'll display it proudly. It should make for a great conversation piece at a dinner party.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

My Very First Tablescape Thursday

Newbie here at this blogging stuff. I know I’m posting this one day early but I wanted to get it up & edited correctly before I add my link to Susan's Tablescape Thursday site at Between Naps on the Porch.

I had such fun creating this table setting so I could participate. Thank you, Susan for a chance to share my “pretties” with others. I used my very best china & Waterford crystal for you & I am excited to share the pictures. This is the first time I've ever participated in such a blogging group like this. I hope you enjoy my ideas.

My table set for six. I can fit eight if I don't use placemats & do a tablecloth instead but it is a little tight. This is better with the smaller number.

The Waterford bowl you see in this picture, I hand carried on the plane home from Ireland. I only purchased a few special items on that trip & this is one I treasure!

I intend to serve gazpacho salad in it at the dinner party I’m having this weekend. After going to go to all the trouble of setting up such a table, you know I just had to invite some friends to dinner!

TT dining room centerpiece from the top

The "chandelier shot" of my centerpiece:

I started with a simple green ivy wreath & filled in with lots of silk autumn leaves. The little pumpkins & grapes are beaded & really sparkle in the light. I had to remove the birdcage that I originally had in my dining room centerpiece (you can see it here ) & switch to this pumpkin instead, so people could see each other across the table. I found the pumpkin in a neat shop (sorry I don’t remember the name) in McKinney, TX on a visit to DH’s son & family. Lots of great antique shopping in McKinney!

TT water pitcher, Waterford butter dish

This view shows my lead crystal water pitcher which was a Christmas gift from hubby’s son & wife. They now live in Chicago so it was purchased there.

The little Waterford butter dish next to it is another item I carefully brought home from our Ireland trip. I would LOVE to return to Ireland someday!

My great-grandmother followed her true love to America from County Cork. Here is a photo of a bridge in Cork. Just look at all that beautiful GREEN! She worked as an upstairs maid in New York until they married. My mother was pure Irish. In fact, her maiden name was Peggy O' kidding! I cried when we landed on Irish soil & I cried when we took off to go home, too. If I ever win the lottery one of the first things I will do is buy a home in Ballybunion! The views on their golf course rival Pebble Beach. We won’t mention my score there. :/ I was too busy looking at the ocean instead of the ball.

TT Waterford salad bowl

Back to the table: From this angle, you can see my Ralph Lauren candlesticks that I found at T.J. Maxx years ago. I can’t remember what I paid for them (not much, I’m sure) but they are HEAVY!

Note the little bobèche on each candle to catch any melting wax. It is pronounced “bō-ˈbesh”….I had to look it up, because I wasn’t sure. I have a small collection of these tiny inexpensive treasures & use them all the time. You can a find great selection of them here. Not affiliated at all….I just like to give them as hostess gifts sometimes.

The little individual salt & pepper shakers are useful since both hubby & I have high blood pressure & I try not to use much salt in my cooking. My guests can just season to their hearts content….or DIS-content, as the case may be.

TT napkins & rings

A close-up shot to show you the napkins which match the lace placemats you’ll see in a minute. I’ve had the napkin rings a long time & they have developed a nice patina that makes them look antique. Trust me, they’re not THAT old! LOL

I ADORE anything lacey with cut-outs or embroidery!! Must be my Irish heritage. Years ago, ”lace curtain Irish” was a derogatory term used to describe Irish immigrants who would put up lace curtains in the windows of their shanty houses for appearances sake. They had notions of being more respectable. The term is far from being a compliment but I embrace the description.

TT cocktail glass for shrimp

Doing the place setting “strip tease” as Mid-Atlantic Martha calls it, starting with these HUGE cocktail stemware. I'd be flat out cold on the floor if I drank a Cosmopolitan this size!

They are ENORMOUS! I intend to put cocktail sauce in the bottom & then hang 3 garlic-marinated, grilled shrimp off the sides. (recipe from Williams-Sonoma’s Grilling cookbook, the older version) I’ll post a picture after I make it.

TT Lenox Jacguard salad plate

The next layer is a Lenox salad plate from their Jacquard pattern. I like to mix & match my patterns & I have several different salad plates & soup bowls that I use, depending on the occasion…..the Eternal Christmas ones with gold holly or the Presentation Ivory ones with ribbons & bows for a birthday celebration.

TT Lenox Eternal china plate

Next is the Eternal pattern of Lenox which is my mainstay & the pattern for all my other pieces….coffee cups, bread plates, etc. I can see that my pink shirt was reflected in the bottom band of gold in this photo. I don’t know how to fix that….too new to photo editing yet.

TT Glass charger centered

I can’t wait to share my chargers with you!! These BIG clear glass plates were purchased from a Waccama store in FL (for about $5 each!) before they went out of business. I spray painted them on the BACK with gold paint years ago. This was before I ever knew about glass paint or sealing stuff. I, of course, hand wash them very carefully & store them with foam sheets in between so the paint doesn’t get scratched off. I really should look into sealing them somehow. Any suggestions?

Another view….the top of the plate is smooth glass & all the relief/texture is on the bottom of the plate. I just love them & get lots of compliments & questions about them. I don’t let anyone wash them but me. I’m really particular about handling my breakables & I prefer that guests “just let me do it myself!” Anybody remember that Anacin© commercial?
“Mother, PLEASE…I’d rather do it myself!” Oh golly, I’m really dating myself now.

TT Lace placemat, II I’m pretty sure I found these cutwork placemats at T.J. Maxx but it was so long ago, I really can’t remember (you’ll hear me say that a lot)…..senior moments more & more. *sigh*

They have gold stitching all around each section. Very delicate & very pretty & need the utmost of care when hand washing. I use BIZ which is the heirloom world’s favorite product. For some really good instructions on how to wash & preserve delicate laces & such, please read my sewing friend Bunny’s post on the subject.

TT buffet set for coffee & dessert

Coffee, tea & dessert will be served from the sideboard.

TT Lotus bowl

I wanted to show you a close up of my Lotus bowl, (Lenox) which was a house warming gift from our friends, Cece & Tom. Both are deceased now & I always lift up a prayer for them every time I use it. I do that with many of my things that were gifts. It helps me keep the giver close in my heart.

This weekend I’m planning to fill it with a chilled & spiked fruit compote to be spooned over angel food cake. I have to work on the rest of the menu now that I’ve got dessert all figured out. Hey, I’ve got MY priorities straight!

One last photo of the table in candlelight. My camera only has 2.0 megapixals so it doesn’t do a very good job & I’m trying to improve the shots using Microsoft Picture It Premium but I really don’t know what I’m doing yet.

Any suggestions on what kind of camera I should hint to Santa about???

I tucked in some tiny battery operated tea lights between the leaves of the arrangement. Silk botanicals & open flame do NOT play well together. This is much safer & I’ll be more relaxed with just the 2 tall tapers burning.

The lit pumpkin on the sideboard, left is a new purchase from T.J.Maxx this week. Only $12 & I love that it lights up! It brings some much needed color to that corner.

Here’s what it looks like during the day. Pretty, huh? That’s a Fitz & Floyd plate, which will hold some chocolates for after dinner & next to it is another beaded pumpkin in a candle ring.

TT pumpkin daytime

Gosh, this whole process takes a long time, both to set up, photograph & then to describe! Now I have to start cooking for the dinner! Yikes!

I hope I didn’t forget anything. If so, please feel free to ask me about it? I love to share information & ideas & I cherish any comments. Funny how I never realized how much a comment meant to someone until I recently started blogging myself. Now I try to say something nice anytime I visit one of you. Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed your sojourn & remember the Golden Rule…. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Sewing Projects

This slide shows many of the outfits I've made for my grandchildren. Its interesting to see how my skills have improved over the past few years. Thanks to all my online sewing friends who have helped to teach me so much!