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Showing posts from November, 2013

My Thanksgiving Table

With so much to do before Thanksgiving, I decided to set my table a day ahead.  As much as I like to prepare and plan ahead of time for my table settings, I always make last minute decisions based on color, mood, linens, glassware, china and of course, my whim.  I always call these last minute changes, 'executive decisions'.  It's one thing to put things down on paper or have an idea of what a table setting should look like, but it's a different thing altogether when you have everything before you. I knew that I wanted to use my beautiful gilded Wedgwood drabware for most of the china, but since I enjoy mixing patterns and colors, I reached for a few of my antique, British ironstone plates.  These pieces are over 100 years old and have a lot of crazing on them.  With age and use, the ironstone has taken on a creamy quality which is perfect for the drabware.  The linens are a mix of brown & pumpkin European jacquard with golden accents and the flatware is

Pumpkin Cornbread

The idea of mixing pumpkin and corn is nothing new.  At my house, cornbread is the bread of choice for the stuffing on Thanksgiving, and true to my predilections, it has to be homemade.  As I was thinking of the stuffing for our turkey this year, I decided to change it up a bit from previous years by adding delicious pumpkin puree to the cornbread.  Not only does pumpkin add flavor to anything it touches, but it makes baked goods uncommonly moist.  I'm pleased with the results. After conversing with a good friend of mine from the south, we both agreed that one ought to add sugar to any type of cornbread.  I don't mean that it has to be sweet bordering on cake, but there should be just enough to give it another dimension.  Again, it's the combination of sweet and salty.   What emerges from the oven is a thick cornbread that you'll be proud of bringing over to the holiday table for your guests.  The bread can be cut into squares of equal size or it can be lef

Cranberry Raisin Relish

Everyone needs a good, basic cranberry relish for the holiday table.  I make mine every single year to enjoy with our turkey and other sides, but I truly like to have it slathered onto a buttered biscuit, roll or piece of cornbread.  It's that mix of sweet and salty that truly makes a relish like this mouthwatering.  My version, however, doesn't contain a lot of sugar like most recipes.  I think it's nice to have a bit of the tart flavor from the cranberries with every bite. The packages of fresh cranberries that one gets at the grocery store have cooking tips and recipes on the bags, which one can easily follow, but if you add a bit of something here and there, the relish takes on more depth and flavor.  From year to year I experiment with different dried fruits for added texture, but the two ingredients which never change are freshly grated orange zest and the cinnamon stick.   If I travel to California for the holidays, I'm in charge of the relish (actua

Thanksgiving Place Cards

Place cards bring a certain elegance to any table no matter how simple or elaborate the design.  It's nice to have a place at the table for each of your guests, and the idea of putting a card which designates where one ought to sit makes the table even more special.  This year I decided to make simple place cards for my small table in autumnal shades of browns and golds, because I wanted to complement the colors of my china and linens for our dinner. Place cards can be bought at stationery stores with embellishments already on them and they can be of the variety that fold for easy placing.  These tend to cost a bit of money, but they're nice and they're very convenient if you don't want to create a fuss.  For my table, though, I bought colored business cards and used stamps to make an easy monogram for each person.  I like the results and I think you will too.   There is still plenty of time to create these before Thanksgiving and I encourage you to have som

Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

A tasty addition to the lineup of Fall cookies which call for spice, Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin Cookies are great for those who don’t want pie at the holiday table.  One comes across pumpkin everything this time of year and I for one, love it.  Whether it's pumpkin bread, pumpkin pies, pumpkin hand pies or custards, I'll always try a dessert made with this autumnal squash.  I feel like Fall isn't the same without a bit of pumpkin and spice. If you happen to like pumpkin sweets then you're in luck, because my version of oatmeal cookies will have you reaching for them as soon as the first sheet comes out of the oven.  The wholesome ingredients of whole wheat flour, oats, raisins, butter and pumpkin puree come together quickly and, if truth be told, one can easily make a batch without a stand mixer.  A large bowl, a heavy wooden spoon and lots of strength will get through this recipe in no time.   Go through your pantry and make sure you have everything in stock b

Three Magnificent Years!

It all started at the request of some of my friends.  Three years ago I sat down and decided to write a blog as a way to catalog what I was creating & doing at home.  All I knew at the time was that I wanted to explore recipes, show step by step instructions for friends and give them the things which have made my life easier and more enjoyable.  I wanted to share those good things like I had never done before. This was my first post  on November 23, 2010:  Friends & family have been prompting me to create a blog which showcases pictures, recipes & helpful hints that make my life easier and more enjoyable.  I'm not sure where I will take this, but here's to the beginning of something wonderful.  I hope to fill this blog with Good Things for you & your loved ones. There are two people I have to thank for when I wrote that entry three years ago.  The first is my long time friend of twenty years, Ashley Hoffman, who happens to be a superb graphic des