Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Another re-post...while Miss Janice is galavanting all over the state of Georgia!!!

Thanksgiving Day is the time to give thanks for all that you have and help those who are not as fortunate as yourself. Whether you are jogging in a Turkey Trot race at dawn, helping out at a soup kitchen, or visiting with family and friends, make the day special for someone by creating memories that time and distance will never erase. Since the day largely centers around food, bring out all the stops! If you are hosting a meal in your home, do all the preparations you can in advance. Don't be embarrassed to ask for help. People love to bring a dish and it helps to make your day a little easier!

Most Southerners enjoy the Thanksgiving meal around the dining room table. Decide if you want to serve plated-style, English-Butler Style, or family-style. I will be serving Thanksgiving Dinner plated-style at the dining room table. The food will be portioned onto the plates in the kitchen area and served directly to each guest at the table.

Well here they are--all lined up and ready to perform on the big day!

Serveware all organized!
Remember to get your arsenal together and ensure that you have all the serveware you will need to serve your feast. Keep a copy of the menu in the kitchen so that you don't forget to prepare/serve a dish. Believe me, I have forgotten to serve a dish that I spent a lot of time preparing, because I didn't check the list. When I'm cooking, I also keep copies of the recipes I am preparing in the same area as the menu.

Menu and recipes at hand!

Thanksgiving Day Menu
Roasted Turkey
Mama's Southern Cornbread Dressing
Piquant Cranberry Sauce
Green Bean Casserole
Mashed Potatoes
Southern-Style Gravy
Sweet Potato Casserole
Sister Schubert Rolls
Miss Janice's Sweet Southern Iced Tea

After Grace is said, remember that the reason for getting together is to give thanks for all your blessings and ask each guest to say one thing they are grateful for.

I have chosen a beautiful cornucopia as the centerpiece, on an ivory damask tablecloth, surrounded by pilgrim candleholders, some pumpkins, and a few little turkeys. The dinnerware colors of green, mustard, and terra cotta are mixed at each place setting and were purchased at Harry and David a few years ago. You can find similar leaf plates at Williams Sonoma. The green damask napkins are held by festive little turkey napkin rings which I have had for many years.
A cornucopia, pilgrims, turkeys, and candlelight help to set the tone for the day...

The dining table is set for a Thanksgiving feast "Pilgrim" place cards mark the place for each guest and the colors of the plates are mixed at each place setting...
The Autumn tree glows in the corner

After the big meal, adjourn to the living room, family room, or parlor and enjoy dessert and coffee/punch. Remember that you should always serve a "signature beverage" at your event. To complement the desserts, I will be serving a sparkling Harvest Punch as my signature beverage, and of course, coffee.

Desserts, Harvest Punch, and coffee--served in the parlor

Harvest PunchAlda Ellis's Pecan Pie

Dessert Menu

Harvest Punch*

Alda Ellis's Pecan Pie*

Caramel Cake

Pumpkin Spiced Coffee

*Recipe for Harvest Punch
48 oz. apple juice
1 can frozen orange juice (prepared)
32 oz. cranberry juice
32 oz. club soda
1/2 cup honey
2 cinnamon sticks broken into pieces
4 tsp. whole cloves
Orange slices, for garnish
In a large sauce pan, combine all ingredients except club soda and orange slices. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, strain and discard spices. Allow to cool. Pour into a large serving vessel. Add chilled club soda just before serving and stir. Garnish the beverage with orange slices floating on top. Serve over crushed ice.

*Recipe for Alda Ellis's Pecan Pie
3 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup maple-flavored pancake syrup
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
1 cup pecan halves
Combine eggs, sugar, salt, butter, and syrup in a medium-sized bowl and mix well. Pour mixture into shell and top with pecan halves. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Very Southern...very decadent.

So the big day is over and everyone is ready to go home. No stop, wait...like Mama always said, "Now y'all come in here and take some of this food home with you"! Oh yes, send them away with some leftovers--we all know that's one of the best parts of Thanksgiving. You can put some food in tupperware-type containers, on paper plates covered with aluminum foil, or wrap it up to go in style!
Take it home y'all!

And, take it home, in style, please...

"Hospitality is a gift of your time. The most treasured gift you can make for your family and friends is a memory."
~Alda Ellis

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving y'all!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Etiquette for the Holidays

Today I'm traveling home to Georgia to be with my mama for Thanksgiving! I'll be stopping in Savannah to visit with a good friend...I'm soooo excited y'all! Tonight I'm having dinner at Uncle Bubba's Oyster House {Bubba is Paula Deen's brother!} Tomorrow, I'm having lunch at Paula Deen's restaurant, The Lady and Sons!!! Lord have mercy, I can hardly stand it:)

So, while I'm away, here's a re-post... "Etiquette for the Holidays."

You've all seen movies about surviving the holidays with family. The old saying "You can choose your friends, but not your family," is very true. Nowadays, all families have drama and some family members just don't get along; hence, tensions can run very high when everyone is crowded into one home for the holidays. I've put together some tips that will hopefully help you to survive those gatherings, whether you will be visiting family or friends.

Houseguest etiquette--
If you are going to be a houseguest during the holiday season, remember to practice good etiquette and hopefully, you will be invited back again.
~Never show up at someone's home with your pets or when you are ill.
~Don't overstay your welcome.
~Offer to help out around the house.
~Don't abuse the hospitality of the host. Never place a long-distance call from the host's phone without permission. Don't expect your host to be your event planner for the stay. Entertain yourself and better still, offer to take your host out for dinner. Please clean up behind yourself--or go to a hotel!
~You should always arrive with a gift, say thank you during your visit, and send a thank-you note after the visit.

Party host and guest duties--
Host duties:
~Plan ahead and make sure that you have plenty of time to greet your guests at the door. (Refer to Miss Janice's tips "Kick Off the Holiday Season," parts 1-4, posted earlier this month). Take their coats/handbags and make introductions to other guests, if necessary.
~Offer your guests a beverage.
~Mingle with all your guests, not just one person.
~When your event is over, walk your guests to the door and thank them for coming.
Guest duties:
~If you are an invited guest this Thanksgiving or Christmas, offer to bring a dish and find out which dish your host would prefer that you bring.
~Be sure to bring a small gift for the host.
~Dress in casual holiday style.
~Arrive on time and introduce yourself to everyone present.
~Offer to help in the preparations but don't monopolize the host's time; remember that the host is a very busy person on Thankgsgiving or Christmas Day!
~After the meal is finished, offer to help the host with any cleaning in the kitchen.
~Mingle with family and friends, thank your host, and leave.
~Don't forget to send a thank-you note to the host the next day.

Dining etiquette--
The holidays are a perfect time to instill social and dining etiquette skills to children and also to practice proper table manners yourself.
~Recruit the children to help in setting the table for the meal. Teach them the proper table setting for the style of dining and meal that you are planning to serve.
~Upon arrival at the table, stand behind your chair and wait until the host/hostess has been seated.
~Don't touch your napkin or anything else until Grace has been said.
~If you don't know what to do, watch the host/hostess.
~Sit up straight, don't talk with food in your mouth, and keep your elbows off the table, please.
~Don't lick your fingers--wipe them on your napkin, under the table. Gently dab the corners of your mouth with your napkin--don't wipe your mouth. And please keep your napkin on your lap until the meal is complete, then place it--loosely folded--to the left of your plate.
~Don't leave your flatware in the rowboat position--angled half on the table and half on the plate. Once you pick up a piece of flatware to use, it is never returned to the table.
~Participate in the conversation at the table; remember, don't discuss politics, religion, health issues, or controversial subjects at the dining table. Talk to everyone at the table, not just the persons next to you.
~Leave a bite of food on your plate; this shows that you did not come for the food alone, but for the fellowship, as well.
~Don't push your plate away when you have finished eating, that's just tacky.

Now you have learned how to plan your event, a little houseguest etiquette, proper host/guest etiquette, and a few dining etiquette tips. As we move forward to the holidays, I will feature posts on party themes and tablescapes, party favors, hostess gifts, and Christmas party etiquette. I thank you so much for dropping by today!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I'm taking a coffee break from Christmas decorating...Several of my readers have asked to see photos of my dining room. I thought I'd let y'all take a peek at how it looks for Autumn.

My dining room here at "The Roost" is not as formal as a my dining room in my Mississippi home. It's a bit small, but does provide a space for dinners and luncheons away from the kitchen area. Come on in...

The table is set with an Autumn tablescape. All the furniture pieces in this room were purchased at Ethan Allen...the 'Maison' collection.

The china cabinet and buffet are the 'Rustique' finish and holds all my Lenox 'Eternal' china and other special pieces...

The sideboard is the 'Gardenia' finish

An Autumn tablescape...
The chandelier is from Ballard Designs. The fabric of the custom valance is 'Pastoral Sage' {a toile from Ethan Allen}

This is the 'Bombe Secretary' desk...
I usually keep it open...

It's filled with some of fave books...some are about Princess Grace, some Danielle Steele books, and some of my hardback books about the royal family of England!

This is where I sometimes photo my "Friendship Gifts" and also were I serve some of my "Signature Beverages."

Autumn floral arrangements are an both sides of the china cabinet...

A simple vignette on the sideboard...

The buffet lamps...

The lamp shades are from Ballard Designs and I received the harlquin tassels as a gift from my BFF Teresa Jane last Christmas...

One of the 'Avignon' arm chairs...the fabric covering is 'Pastoral Sage' {from Ethan Allen}
One of the side chairs...the fabric is 'Pittman Green' {from Ethan Allen}

Y'all know I can't stand unsightly cords...I covered all the visible cords in this room with sage gingham check covers from Ballard Designs...

The iron base of the dining table...
That's the tour of the dining room y'all! Now, I'm off to the gym, then BACK to Christmas decorating. I know I've been talking about decorating for Christmas for weeks...and, it's not going to be ALL THAT:) Well, y'all know it takes a long time to do stuff!
Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Friday, November 19, 2010

This and That

A little of this...

This week husband and I have been celebrating our wedding anniversary all week! We went out for dinner the other night to a local gourmet-style restaurant...11 Maple Street, Jenson Beach, Florida. Fabulous! I must tell y'all that I had PUMPKIN Creme Brulee. I'm still feed my pumpkin obsession up to the last days of the season! Then...it's on to gingerbread and peppermint everything! This restaurant is quite famous in the area for great service and awesome food. You can visit their site online 11MapleStreet.net.

I was soooo rushed getting ready for dinner and chose an outfit that did not go with husband's outfit at all! My wardrobe is very preppy and conservative, but husband's wardrobe is the complete opposite. He would not be caught dead in a sweater vest or a pullover cardigan, a polo shirt, loafers, or anything monogrammed. No sir! It's all Tommy Bahama's for husband. I'm not sure where I got him from...well, yes I do! He's a Yankee!!! He claims he's a Southerner 'cuz he grew up in Clearwater, Florida--he was born in Illinois and his family moved to Clearwater when he was a baby. Hmmm, there are two problems with that. {I told him that it didn't matter. "If your mama had you in a hospital in Illinois and then drove you to Florida to live, you are NOT Southern mister! Besides, Clearwater, Florida isn't Southern anyway."}

I snapped a shot of my outfit before shooting out the door...The wool jacket is from the now-closed BarriePace and the black slacks are from Macy's. I wore my camel/black Chanel ballet flats and carried my black Chanel 2.55 pocketbook.
A little of that...

Awhile back, I signed up to take part in a 'Preppy Christmas Swap' hosted by Daphne at FlipFlopsAndPearlsGirl. We were instructed to buy pink & green monogrammed gifts for our swap partner. Well goodness gracious, the pressure was on ME!:) My swap partner was Miss Daphne herself!!! Thinking about it now, I did send her something monogrammed, but I didn't send her one pink & green thing:( Shame on me! I think she liked her loot though.

Anywho...here's my loot from Miss Daphne...

A 'Lolita-Love My Wine' holiday goblet. All the Lolita goblets have a beverage recipe on the bottom and mine is for "Holiday Baubles." I can't wait to prepare the drink and feature it here for y'all!

This goblet will also come in handy through the holidays during "Merlot Hour."

She also sent some cute notecards, with my monogram in pink and green {Miss Daphne followed the rules!} Now y'all know I'll use thesecards!!!

Last, but certainly not least...a Lilly koozie in the 'Frisky Business' pattern. Miss Janice's never drinks her diet caffeine-free coke from a naked beverage can. What a cute coverup! *Love*

Y'all must stop over and visit Daphne! She has the cutest blog and is a wonderful blog and Twitter friend of mine.

Thank you for visiting with me today! Have a wonderful weekend y'all!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Country French Dinner at The Roost

I'm in the middle of decorating for Christmas, but still have my Thanksgiving decor out...it's getting a little tricky now--mixing the two holiday decos:) Stepping away from Thanksgiving and Christmas, last night I prepared a French Country Dinner at the "The Roost" for husband. It's our wedding anniversary week...we're celebrating all week y'all! Anywho, I served an informal dinner at the breakfast table...plated style. Of course my apron coordinated with the meal...French Country Roosters, from Williams-Sonoma.

Here's a full view of the apron...love the roosters y'all!

I set the table using a very casual theme, with Jean Paul and his barnyard friends! The menu was: Country French Cassoulet, Miss Janice's Salad c/ Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette, Tomato Basil Beer Bread, Iced Tea, and Merlot
Kept the Cassoulet on the sideboard, within easy reach...

My little helper, Jean Paul...

The Country French Cassoulet, one of my Taste of Gourmet products...baked in a Paula Deen casserole dish and served on a wire tray from Pottery Barn. I found that cute little rooster on my recent shopping spree to Mt. Dora, Florida.

Tomato Basil Beer Bread, another Taste of Gourmet product. It's easy to prepare and delish! I purchased the pie/bread plate and holder from HomeGoods.

Love these rooster dinner plates, from TJ Maxx...gingham and roosters--right up my dishaholic alley!!!

I found these red rooster napkins at Williams-Sonoma. I cannot remember where I bought the silver rooster napkin rings, but aren't they cute?!
Continuing on with the rooster obsession, the rooster tumblers came from Williams-Sonoma.
The iced tea pitcher is the 'Barnyard Toile' pattern, by J. Willfred.

Cute little salt & pepper shakers...by Arthur Court.
I cannot remember where I found these precious olive oil dipping plates, but I love them! I eat olive oil with my bread everyday!!!

The LeCreuset olive oil jar...with another one of barnyard friends!
This is a rooster I purchased recently at Pottery Barn...

Rooster pillow...from a store in Mississippi--can't remember where!

The dinner...Country French Cassoulet, Miss Janice's Salad c/ Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette, and Tomato Basil Beer Bread. These are all products from Taste of Gourmet. Check out the site y'all!
This is how I prepared the meal...
The French Country Cassoulet is a mix from Taste of Gourmet. I added pork stew pieces and prepared it on the stove in a big pot. Then I transferred it all to a casserole dish and layered parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Voila, a great French Country casserole!

Miss Janice's Salad was also very quick and easy to prepare. I used a bagged fresh salad mix, added cherry tomatoes, candied walnuts, Crispy Crumbles (from Taste of Gourmet), and Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette (also from Taste of Gourmet).

The Tomato Basil Beer Bread is also a mix from Taste of Gourmet. I combined one 12-oz beer with the mix and baked it for 30 minutes. I served it with the olive oil and it was the perfect bread for this dinner!

You can visit my Taste of Gourmet site here and see these and other products I offer...perfect for your entertaining pantry!
Today I'm joining Marty over at AStrollThruLife for Tabletop Tuesday. Y'all go over and check out all the beautiful blog links today.

I'm also joining Daphne at FlipFlopsAndPearls. Daphne and Shannon at Webbisodes are hosting Home Tour Tuesday. Check out their blog links for a great kitchen photos and recipes!

Well, I must rush! Lots to do. Y'all have a fabulous day!