Monday, November 24, 2014

The Well-Dressed Table

Happy Monday!  I am so elated to share this post with you as it is my first style article to be published in a local newspaper.  Here is how it appeared in print.

And here is a close-up version.

Hold on, Santa Claus.  We love you dearly, but there is another holiday to celebrate before your sleigh pulls into town.  With retailers promoting Christmas earlier and earlier, it’s easy to want to skip Thanksgiving decorations altogether. 
However, a day in which we set aside time to give thanks for our blessings deserves its own spotlight.  A beautifully decorated dining table will establish the tone of your meal and serve as the backdrop for the event.

When decorating your Thanksgiving table:

·        Mix heirloom pieces with your current tableware.  Mom’s china and grandma's flatware evoke memories of loved ones and provide an opportunity to share family stories from years past.

·        Pumpkins, gourds and mums can look a little tired by late November, so feel free to incorporate fresh, dried, and even silk elements into your centerpiece.

·        Use neutral runners, napkins, and white plates and platters to allow dinner to take center stage. 

·        Add a touch of turquoise to provide a stunning contrast to autumn’s rusts, golds and reds. Try candleholders or a vase in this rich shade.
·        Place markers add personalization and warmth to your table.

However you dress your turkey table, be sure to savor the day with your family and enjoy the final days of fall’s glory.
Have a wonderful week and a very Happy Thanksgiving!



Monday, November 17, 2014

A Twist on Tradition

Everyone knows that you don’t mess with tradition, especially on Thanksgiving.  So slipping in a new dish between the green bean casserole and sweet potatoes can be a tad risky. Albeit traditions are what holidays are made of, but when I found this recipe for Cornbread-Chorizo Dressing in New Mexico Magazine last fall, I knew I had to shakes things up a bit. 

I actually made this dressing three times within six weeks – Cowgirls love corn bread!
The first time was the trial run. Then I served it on Thanksgiving.  It was so good that I made it again for Christmas Eve.

Below is the recipe; however, if you would like to read the original article which also includes recipes for Pumpkin Soup; Red-Chile Rubbed Turkey; and Cranberry, Fig and Pistachio Relish, here is the article 

Have a great week!

Cornbread-Chorizo Dressing
·         ¾ pound French bread, torn in bite-size pieces
·         8 ounces bulk chorizo sausage
·         8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
·         2 heaping cups chopped onions or leeks
·         2 heaping cups thin-sliced celery
·         1 to 1½ tablespoons crumbled dried sage
·         2 teaspoons dried thyme
·         1 teaspoon salt
·         ½ teaspoon freshly milled pepper
·         8-inch-square pan of cornbread (made from a 15-ounce package of cornbread mix, if you wish), crumbled coarsely
·         3 to 4 cups turkey stock (see above) or low-sodium chicken stock
·         4 large eggs
·         ½ teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 375° F. Place French-bread pieces on baking sheet and toast in oven about 10 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Set aside to cool, then dump into large bowl.

Butter 9 by 13-inch baking dish several inches deep. Over medium heat, sauté chorizo in large skillet, breaking it into small bits with spatula as you cook, until well browned. Drain off and discard excess fat. Add butter to chorizo in same skillet, and melt over medium heat. Stir in onions and celery and sauté until very soft, about 7 minutes. Add sage, thyme, salt, and pepper, and scrape into bowl of toasted bread pieces. Add cornbread crumbles. Pour in stock a cup at a time, and mix together until bread is very moist but not soupy. You will probably use 2 to 3 cups of stock. Cover and refrigerate dressing until you are ready to proceed with it. (Up to this point, dressing can be made a day ahead.)

Finish preparing dressing after turkey has roasted about 1hour. Taste and adjust seasoning if you wish, or add a bit more stock if mixture seems dry. Whisk eggs and baking powder together and mix into dressing. Spoon dressing into baking dish, leaving it somewhat uneven on top, so that it will get extra-crunchy in some spots. Cover, place in oven with turkey, and bake 25 minutes. Uncover and continue baking about 20 additional minutes, until lightly browned and crusty on top.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Savoring Autumn

In just a few short weeks, we’ll be decking our halls - stringing lights, trimming the tree and hanging the stockings with care.  After all, our pumpkins are starting to look a little squishy and the mums… they’ve seen better days. 

So, I thought I’d give you one last look at fall decorations in all their glory. 
This tour happens to be the home of a fabulous decorator – my Mom.  She just has a way with balance and placement.  And her floral arrangements are some of the best I’ve seen.  How lucky was I to have her to design my wedding flowers?
Here are some pictures of her great room and dining table.  Enjoy!
Getting up close and personal with the mantle. Lots of textures create a cozy scene.


The green globes cast a beautiful light against the fall colors.


A rustically simple dining table is ready for a Thanksgiving feast.


A touch of turquoise adds an additional layer of depth to the arrangement.


Have a great week!



Monday, November 3, 2014

Tricked or Treat

We were duped by Mother Nature, big time.  Only in the Midwest do you get 40 mile an hour winds, freezing rain and snow on Halloween.  Needless to say, Trick or Treat was a big flop this weekend.  Anyone need any candy?  Chocolate eyeballs?  Gummy worms?  Plastic spiders?

No need to despair – we still have plenty of time to celebrate the remainder of fall.  We’ve got a few leaves left on the trees and pumpkins and football and Thanksgiving! 

Did I mention pumpkins?  We have plenty of time to enjoy our pumpkins and this Triple-Layer Pumpkin Spice Pie.

Triple-Layer Pumpkin Spice Pie
2 cups cold milk*
2 pkg. (4-serving size each) JELL-O Pumpkin Spice Flavor
Instant Pudding
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 8 oz. tub of whipped topping, thawed
1 graham pie crust
Pecan halves, optional

Beat milk, pudding mixes and cinnamon with wire whisk until well blended. Spread 1 ½ cups onto bottom of crust.  Add 1 ½ cups of whipped topping to remaining pudding mixture; stir gently.  Spoon over layer in crust; top with remaining whipped topping.  Refrigerate 1 hour.  Sprinkle with cinnamon or with toasted pecan halves if desired.  *I used skim milk, and it was wonderful.  Here’s the original recipe.

Sorry, Father Christmas, you will have to wait a few weeks for the Cowgirl.  She’s holding out for a good old-fashioned Griswold Family Thanksgiving. 

Have a great week!