Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pink & Purple this time!

I used my new pink Bordallo Pinneiro bowls again this week,
mostly because I haven't found a place to store them yet!
It was easier to just wash them & put them back on the table.

Like Marty at A Stroll Thru Life says
"I think I need an intervention!!"

The white dinner plates with the soft pink & purple flowers
are by Pfaltzgraff.

They were $1 apiece at a local thrift store & they only had 6
but that works nicely for this table.


My lilac tree is blooming outside the gazebo for the first time!

What a HEAVENLY fragrance!

I cut just a few branches & mixed them with

pink carnations, baby's breath & purple statice in my large white ironstone pitcher.

I would have cut armloads if I could but you have to trim carefully to maintain the shape of the tree. Its not the usual, huge bush that we remember from Grandma's era.


My Napoleon Bee glassware by La Rochere that I won

from Taste & Twirl...
(thank you Libby) goes BEEutifully with my

Napoleon Bee flatware from Horchow

which is on SALE, by the way, until May 19th.



I found the little candlestick flower arrangers on Ebay

after seeing Diann's on her blog, The Thrifty Groove.

I have a large one for a centerpiece that I use often.

You can see it done up with yellow roses here.


I found this lovely serving platter, below,

with its pretty curved edges at T.J. Maxx
for only $10 last week.

I love the lacey textured look of the edges!


I'm thinking it will look great with roasted asparagus or perhaps a medley of grilled vegetables.

(if it ever stops raining long enough for us to use the grill!)




Just playing around with Photoscape!

I know you don't light candles in the middle of the day.


Martha Stewart says you should never put a candle on the table

that doesn't have the wick somewhat burned already.

You should always have a candle wick blackened from use if it is on display.


Another bit of advice,

when I go shopping, I ALWAYS check out the clearance aisles first.

I find so many bargains that add nice little

extra special touches to my tables.

A perfect example are these beautifully embroidered sheer organza napkins.

There were 4 in a pack & only 2 packs available, one being 1/2 torn open.

They were marked down to $4 per pack.

That's $1 per napkin!


Aren't they GORGEOUS?!

They remind me of a bride's veil.

Used as an overlay to a heavier, more absorbent napkin, they add a delicate bit of whimsy.

They'll be even prettier over softly colored napkins.


On a side table, since May is the Blessed Virgin's month,
I tucked one of the pink carnations into a bud vase
with some of my Lily of the Valley.
I can remember my mother always placing flowers by her statue,
to honor Mary.
I do the same every year, in memory of both these special Mothers.

Thank you for stopping by The Gazebo House.
I hope you have lots of beautiful flowers blooming where you live.

I'm joining Susan at
Between Naps on the Porch

The Tablescaper for
Seasonal Sunday

Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for
Tabletop Tuesday

Linda at Coastal Charm for
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

Thanks to all these ladies for hosting such fun parties each week!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Marinated Veggie Side Salad


May is Pimento Month...who knew?

This is an old recipe with pimentos in it that I tried to make a wee bit more healthy for us

by substituting Splenda® for the sugar & cutting back on the amount of oil.

I marinate it in a medium sized Tupperware bowl &
try to remember to toss & turn it a few times so as
to make sure all the veggies are well covered.

Marinated Veggie Side Salad
  • 1 can of green beans, drained
  • 1 can of baby peas, drained
  • 1 can of shoe peg corn, drained
  • 1 jar of pimentos, drained
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
Toss all of the above together in a container with a tight seal.
Pour cooled marinade over all. (recipe below)
Refrigerate overnight.


1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. water
3/4 cup apple-cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar, or you may substitute equal amt. of Splenda®
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use a wee bit less...most of it stays in the bowl, anyway)

Boil marinade ingredients for a few minutes to dissolve sugar.
It is not necessary to boil if using Splenda®.
Just heat until dissolved.
Cool & pour over veggies. Refrigerate overnight.

I'll be linking to Michael Lee's beautiful blog,
Designs by Gollum
for Foodie Friday

Thank to ML for hosting this fun foodie frenzy each week and
thank YOU for stopping by The Gazebo House.
You're welcome to visit anytime...I always make enough to share!



Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Book Club


I started my very first book club at Venice Golf & Country Club in Venice, FL twelve years ago this month. It was called the "Lansbrook Ladies Book Club" and was open to all the women in our development.

This wonderful group of intelligent, well-read, gracious women have continued to gather monthly (except for summer) ever since that first meeting at my house.

Our first book was Personal History by Katharine Graham. It is not a book that I would have read by my own choice, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and isn't that the point of being in a book club?

I found, that by starting that book club, I became surrounded by a group of women who loved to read as much as I did.

Every month, we would gather to have a glass of wine or iced tea along with some good food to nibble upon. We'd share our thoughts & opinions on the book, the author, the subject and usually several other current topics of conversation as well.

We've stayed together and in touch via email for many, many years now. We enjoyed monthly meetings discussing everything from fiction to nuclear fission, poetry to politics and more personal topics, as well. There were grandbabies born, houses built, illnesses and celebrations of recovery.
There was also the occasional member who moved away.

After nine years, that member was ME...returning to Ohio to be nearer to family. I still keep in touch monthly with the book club and I, as historian, try to maintain a complete list of what books we've read as well as the location where they were discussed. Every member has been great about taking their turn to host the group.

It is such a special treat just to go and sit and talk at someone's home with dear friends and good food around you. Whatever is offered is appreciated and we always felt warmly welcomed in each others homes. We often rode to & from the event in our golf carts if the night was cool or rainy. What a parade that was!

In Feb., while back in FL for vacation, I was able to participate again in the book club discussions.
I loved being a part of this delightful group and I got to meet several of the new members who have moved into the neighborhood since I left. It is a very diverse group of women, all ages and backgrounds, nationalities, religions and temperaments. Most are very talkative but some...not so much.

My friend, Marge, in whose home we met, graciously allowed me to photograph her beautiful surroundings while we were there. She has oodles of lovely French pieces and the most gorgeously soft turquoise blue wall color that makes it an extraordinary escape for them to get away from the bitterly cold Canadian winters.






In keeping with the theme of the book, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, she made a dessert mentioned ...Clafoutis.

Originating in the Limousin region, this country-French dessert is made by topping a layer of fresh fruit with batter. After baking, it is served hot, sometimes with cream. Some clafoutis have a cake-like topping while others are more like a pudding.
Though cherries are traditional, any fruit, (such as the plums she used) or peaches or pears can be used.

I thought some of you might be interested in seeing the list of all the books we’ve read so far.

Established 1999

Personal History -- Katharine Graham

Chris Bohjalian
Poisonwood Bible--Barbara Kingsolver
Shipping News--Annie Proulx
Love in the Time of Cholera--Garbriel Garcia Marquez
The Pilots Wife--Anita Shreve
Vengeance--Stuart Kaminsky
The Voyage--Philip Caputo
Tuesdays With Morrie--Mitch Albom
Map of the World--Jane Hamilton
Stones from the River--Ursula Hegi
Kaaterskill Falls--Allegra Goodman
The Brethren--John Grisham
A Widow for One Year--John Irving
Tryin’ to Sleep in the Bed You Made--Virginia DeBerry & Donna Grant
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down--Anne Fadiman
Prodigal Summer--Barbara Kingsolver
32 Cadilacs--Joe Gores
The Bonesetter’s Daughter --Any Tan
Galileo’s Daughter--Dava Sobel
House of Sand & Fog--Andre’ Dubus, III
Jekyll Island Club --Brent Monahan
The Lion’s Game-- Nelson DeMille
Paris in the Moon--Adam Gopnick
Skipping Christmas--John Grisham
Blind Assassin--Margaret Atwood
Companions in Courage~Pat LaFontaine
John Adams ~ David McCullough
Plain Truth~Jodi Picoult
Sea Glass~Anita Shreve
Empire Falls~Richard Russo
Bel Canto~Ann Patchett
Ava’s Man~Rick Bragg
Falling Angels~Tracy Chevalier
One Thousand White Women~Jim Fergus
The SecretLife of Bees~Sue Monk Kidd
The Dive from Clausen Pier~Anne Packer
Three Junes~Julia Glass
Under the Banner of Heaven~ Jon Krakauer
Life of Pi~ Yann Martel
Middlesex ~ Jeffrey Eugenides
Midnight Pass ~ Steven Kaminski
A Land Remembered ~ Patrick Smith
The Known World ~ Edward Jones
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter ~ Carson McCullers
The Good Earth ~ Pearl Bucks
The Kite Runners ~ Khaled Hosseini
Birth of Venus ~ Sarah Dunant
East of Eden ~ John Steinbeck
The curious incident of the dog in the night time ~ Mark Haddon
Tell No One ~ Harlen Coben
Mountains Beyond Mountains ~ Tracy Kidder
Light on Snow ~ Anita Shreve
My Sister’s Keeper ~ Jodi Picoult
Widow of the South ~ Robert Hicks
Clara Callan ~ Richard B. Wright
Gilead ~ Marilyn Robinson
The Other Boleyn Girl ~ Phillippa Gregory
A Prayer for Owen Meany ~ John Irving
Cannery Row ~ John Steinbeck
Eleanor Roosevelt, A Life of Discovery. ~ Russell Freedman
For Whom the Bell Tolls ~ E. Hemingway
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter ~ Kim Edwards
Madame Bovary ~ Gustav Flaubert
March ~ Geraldine Brooks
Snow Flower & the Secret Fan ~ Lisa See
The Glass Castle ~ Jeanette Walls
A girl named Zippy ~ Haven Kimmel
Water for Elephants ~ Sara Gruen
A Thousand Splendid Suns ~ Kahlid Hosseni
Hotel du Lac ~ Anita Brookner
Suite Francaise ~ Irene Nemirovsky
Seems I lost track of some of them this year!
The Reader ~ Bernhard Schlink
The Book Thief ~ Karkus Zuzak
People of the Book ~ Geraldine Brooks
Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon ~ Jorge Amado,
Revenge of the Middle Aged Woman ~Elizabeth Buchan
Crow Lake ~ Mary Lawson
October ~ Richard B. Wright
Beneath the Marble Sky ~ John Shors
The Help ~Kathryn Stockett
The House at Riverton ~ Kate Morton (blogged about HERE)
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, (blogged about HERE)
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Vorghese
Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund (blogged about HERE)
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter & Sweet by Jamie Ford (blogged about HERE)
Burning Bright by Tracy Chevelier
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira
The Irresistible Henry House by Lisa Grunwald
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
The Faith Club by Priscilla Warner, Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Sklott

I really enjoyed discussing The Elegance of the Hedgehog with my group...
it is wonderfully written with a surprise ending.
I highly recommend it!

I miss doing the Food For Thought meme that Jain used to host. It pushed me to pay close attention to any mentions of food in my reading & to think about how I might incorporate them into a tablescape or simply a recipe blog post.

If you're interested in trying to make a clafoutis,
I found Ina Garten's Pear Clafoutis.
I trust anything Ina makes to be good!

Thanks for stopping by.
I'll be linking to:

Marty @ A Stroll Thru Life for
Table Top Tuesday,
Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch for
Tablescape Thursday,
The Tablescaper for
Seasonal Sundays.

Oh & just for a laugh, here is a excerpt from a comedy club about Venice, FL.

"The 2010 census report was in the paper last week and I was not surprised by the median age of Sarasota County at about 55, which is my ages.
As we all know that is what makes this place the Fountain of Youth, youth is relative in this area. Anywhere else in America I am a senior citizen, but here, I’m a hot young stud! I’m a Longboat Key widow’s dream. Good posture, strong gait, all my teeth and I can still drive at night, which qualifies me for waterfront property. That’s how we roll in Sandtown USA.

Manatee County came in younger at about 48, which is no surprise because my peeps in Bradentucky still have jobs. Yea, they still work for a living there so they need a bit more energy. OK, OK, I know some people in Sarasota still work for a living, and for the most part they live in Bradenton or North Port if they have the gas money.

But the city that did kind of shocked me was Venice. The average age of a Florida Venetian is 68 years old. Wow, I knew it was older, but for an entire community that is freaky old. Who takes out the garbage, for God’s sake? That’s a life-threatening activity in Venice.

So here is the irony, last week I understand they opened the first traffic circle in Sarasota County on a main highway and they decide to put it in Venice. Really, a traffic circle on Jacaranda Blvd. in the city where Buick reigns champion and the city that natural hair color forgot and a place where the people are wonderful, down-home, sophisticated folk but can be challenged to drive in a straight line at any speed above an average jog. An active, fast moving, high-traffic circle in Venice, what are they trying to do, thin the herd?

If you are on a tight budget and in need of good cheap entertainment, just head down to the Venice traffic circle and pull up a lawn chair and a cooler and enjoy the show. It is much better than NASCAR.
NASCAR is predictable, but this is what I would call slow-motion creative NASCAR, times four."

I apologize for all the goofy text sizes in this post.
Blogger is acting weird again today!!
Bad Blogger! Bad!



Friday, May 13, 2011

Celebrity Cook Along with Paula Deen

Today is the start of Lynn's Celebrity Cook Along with Paula Deen

at Happier Than A Pig In Mud!

I'm so glad that Blogger has fixed their problems & we can now post.
It would have been a shame to miss all the wonderful entries.

I made Paula's recipe for
Tomatoes Stuffed with Chicken Salad.

Its a wee bit different than ordinary chicken salad due to the addition of corn & red onions.

I used this handy little tool to scoop out the pulp.

What? You didn't know I was a gadget guru?
I kitchen gadgets of any kind!!!

My Dad bought this for me (I have no idea where) after I admired his.
It is wickedly sharp & does a great job...FAST!

Tomatoes stuffed with Chicken Salad

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen


  • 6 large tomatoes
  • 2 cups cooked and cubed chicken
  • 1/2 cup minced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup corn, drained
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Leaf lettuce or spinach leaves


Cut 1/2-inch off top of each tomato. Scoop out pulp from tomatoes.
Turn tomatoes upside down on paper towels to drain.
In a medium bowl, combine chicken, bell pepper, corn, and onion.
In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil and next 6 ingredients.
Pour over chicken, tossing gently to coat.
Line tomatoes with leaf lettuce or spinach leaves.
Spoon chicken salad evenly into tomatoes. Refrigerate or serve immediately.
I didn't line my tomatoes, as my store bought ones were small.
Just wait till this year's crop of Heirloom tomatoes is ripe!
This basket is just ONE day's harvest from last year!
I also made Paula's really easy Grilled Cheesy Olive Bread.

Grilled Cheesy Olive Bread

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen


  • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated pepper jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted green olives
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 loaf olive or Italian bread, halved lengthwise


In a bowl, combine the pepper jack cheese, olives, butter, cream cheese, and garlic powder with a hand-held mixer until smooth. Slather the cheese mixture over the cut halves of bread and sandwich the halves together.
Wrap the loaf in aluminum foil and put on the grill, or if broiling under the broiler. Grill or broil, 4 inches from the heat, turning once, until the edges of the bread are crisp and golden and the cheese mixture is melted, about 10 to 15 minutes total. Transfer the bread to a cutting board, slice and serve hot.

It was pretty good but the pepper jack cheese made it a bit too spicy for us.
We're wimps when it comes to hot stuff. I should have known better!

Hop on over to Lynn's blog & see what others are making.

I'm also going to link up to
Foodie Friday
with Michael Lee at

The Tablescaper,
for her

Seasonal Sundays

Thanks for stopping by & have a wonderful weekend!


p.s. Did you get lots done while Blogger was down???? LOL
I sure did!

Pink & Green


The original posting of this tablescape went missing when
Blogger went down this week.
I was able to resurrect the pictures,
since they were on Live Writer,
but all my text is missing.
I will try to reconstruct it later today.
DSC_0332 cropped
DSC_0323 DSC_0329
DSC_0302 cropped

I'm joining

Susan at Between Naps on the Porch


Tablescape Thursday


The Tablescaper, for her

Seasonal Sundays

Thanks for stopping by & have a wonderful Spring-like week!