Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Burgundy Valentine

I've been thinking about using these dishes for a Valentine's celebration every since I found them in one of our local resale shops last fall. 
They feature a delicate bouquet of dark pink and purple flowers on a cream background.  Gold highlights and rim provide the perfect finishing touches.
I used a burgundy tablecloth and gold chargers to show them off. 
The flatware is from Ross'.
Aren't these delicate pink glasses elegant? 
My birthday is this week.  A friend (who loves to inform me I'm STILL older than she is) and Wonderful Hubby gave me these beautiful flowers. 
(WH brought the roses!)
Aren't they gorgeous?!!
We're planning to stay home and cook together this Valentine's Day.  The weather is supposed to be quite cold and it sounds like a good evening to snuggle up in front of the fire.
Wishing you and your loved ones a very happy Valentine's Day!
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Monday, February 9, 2015

Ham and Beans with Cornbread

We enjoy a lot of soups during the winter months. 
Nothing warms up a cold night better than a cozy bowl of soup!
We cooked a ham at Christmas time and I froze the bone.  Last weekend, I used it to stir up some Ham and Bean Soup.  This recipe takes awhile to make, mainly rehydrating the beans, but it's so delicious and hearty it's worth it!
Here's the basic recipe:
  • 1 lb. of white beans (Cannellini or Great Northern), about 2 1/2 cups
  • 1/4 lb. of green lentils, about 3/4 cup
  • 4 quarts of boiling water, divided
  • 1 large cooked ham bone, plus about 1 cup diced cooked ham chunks
  • 2 teaspoons Tuscan or Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 2-3 cloves chopped garlic
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Ketchup, optional
  1. Fill a pot large enough to hold the beans with 2 quarts of water and set to boil.  Turn the heat off and add the beans to the boiling water and let soak two hours.  Drain.
  2. While the beans are soaking, cook the ham bone in a large pot with 2 quarts of water. Add the Italian seasoning. Heat on high until the water comes to a simmer, then lower the heat, partially cover and maintain the simmer for about an hour.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a small sauté pan on medium high heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until translucent, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook a minute more.  Take off heat and set aside.
  4. Once the ham bone has cooked about an hour, add the drained beans and lentils, the onions and garlic and the celery and carrots and the cup of ham chunks.  Cook another 30 - 40 minutes, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender.  Remove the bone and let cool a few minutes to handle.  Cut off the rest of the meat and discard the bone.  Return the meat to the soup.
  5. Add several shakes of Tabasco sauce and salt and pepper, to taste.  Ladle soup into bowls and serve with a generous 'squirt' of ketchup.

We like to eat cornbread with this soup and I recently learned an easy trick that takes regular boxed cornbread (like Jiffy) to the next level!   I bake my cornbread in a small cast iron skillet.  Spray it first with non-stick spray.  
Prepare the cornbread mix as directed then add a small (8.5 oz.) can of creamed corn.  That's it, bake the cornbread as usual.  
Use a toothpick to check for doneness.  The creamed corn make the cornbread moist and oh, so sweet! 
Thanks for stopping by!  Let me know what deliciousness you've
been cooking this winter.
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Winter Color

I'm really behind on my January photos post.  Retirement has kept me happily busy but I was able to stick to my photography goal of taking a picture most everyday last month.  Not all of my photos turned out but I believe the ultimate goal was to improve and sometimes we need to learn from our mistakes.

Here are some of my favorites. 



Who said winter is dull and drab?  If you know where to look, it can be as colorful as Spring.

I didn't take many pictures of snow because we haven't had much this winter.  I'm sure that trend won't last, but for now I'm enjoying the colors I find around my world. 

Where are you finding beautiful winter color?

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Purple Lattice Quilt

I've been staying in where it's warm and cozy lately.  One of the things keeping me busy is piecing a new quilt.  I started with a plan (from Missouri Star Quilt Company) and some fabric.
The block is made up of solid squares and triangle-squares. 

This quilt called for twelve of these big blocks.  When sewn side by side and row to row, the pattern appears.  I really like how easy Missouri Star Quilt patterns and videos are to follow.

I'm ready to sandwich now and start quilting. 

I'm planning on machine quilting the interior and hand quilting the borders. 
I have to admit I think I like the piecing part of quilt making a little better than the quilting part.  Anyone else feel the same??
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