Friday, February 21, 2014

National Sticky Buns Day!

Foodie Friday Fun!
Happy Foodie Friday!
Wow, I haven't been blogging for a while, I've missed so much fun!
Well, to get appetite whet again, why don't we start with recognizing what today is?
Yep... It is...
As much as I'd like to say that I will indulge, I've been avoiding sugar most days so this is the most I will get to enjoy a piece. But go ahead, help yourself to one, ok?
This is not my picture, so I will go ahead and link you up to Mike's Table site so you can get this awesome recipe.
I can't wait until next Friday to join in. Ok, now "Brain" and I are off to see what delish dishes you're sharing today!
Thanks, Michael Lee for hosting!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day 2014

Tablescape Thursday
Hello, I'm joining in with this late entry of my V-day tablescape.


This table is inspired last minute but back in 2012 and now 2014, we held another Romantic Buffet at the house where we invite 3 great sets of "couples" and their families to help us enjoy a romantic meal with laughter, renewed friendships and this year, 6 rounds of "The Marriage Game" (you know, the marriage version of "The Newlywed Game"). The kids entertain themselves with a movie, dinner, playtime and games.


"A Rare Find"
A romantic birthday greeting card my husband gave me over a decade ago
and still one of my favorites

You'll see that from the theme, I took the elements and created a "rare" combination of things. If you look at each picture, you'll notice something odd or "rare" to see. Have fun looking!

First let me and Brain greet you with this foyer vignette of flowers and candles while the frames subtly remind you of the reason you are here. Welcome.

As you soak in the warmth of the dining room, why don't you see where you will be seated.

I think I see my name on this end. Do you care to join me for some Garlic Stuffed Roast Beef, Tarragon Red Potatoes, Parmesan Romaine Salad & Chocolate Cake for dessert? But first let Brain and I serve you some Sparkling Grape Juice. (no, we do not drink any alcohol here)
Oh, did you notice that I have two different sets of everything? I think it added to the romance and movement of the table, yeah?
Let the candles hypnotize you to a wonderful evening of great company, laughter, games and dinner.

If you are seated from this corner, this would be your view. How do you like it so far?
How about from this corner?
Glad you were able to join me for another great table and dinner. See you soon...

Thanks again, Susan for hosting a great meme!
TABLESCAPING IDEAS: (Brain enjoyed your company immensely) Company coming but the table is not done yet? No sweat, use color and layers to create ambiance, theme and purpose. Don't worry so much about convention; you don't have time! If it's the same color or close, use it to force a cohesive monochrome to set up the table!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Health is Subjective-Start with your table!

It's the start of new year, the month of love, all types of love. And with that, the push of all organizations claiming they know how to help you live longer, eat healthier and be pain-free clutters all media ports.

The truth is, all of that is subjective, because...

1. Every region in this world offers a different setting to help you with all of that
2. Different types of drinking water affect different parts of the world
3. Type of foods normally consumed affect generations
4. Lifestyle changes are often fleeting unless you move or have had a life-changing situation
5. Foods are subjective to what's in the soil and true organic planting near a city is very expensive to maintain.
6. You are a cultural, regional, international and mixed being. Different things will affect you compared to even your own children born in another region with different chemicals and minerals making up its terrain and winding up in his or her body to make up his immune system.
7. If you don't move, nothing will get used up inside you. So food is not the only answer to a healthier lifestyle. So move, breathe fresh air and enjoy nature. Nature helps you be healthier.
8. Your attitude and outlook and choices all work together to make up a better you, not just one.

Why don't you try an easy way to prove this? Start with your dinner table and ask the following:
1. Do I have more meat than veggies? Do I encourage a rainbow meal each meal?
2. Do I take the time to make the food presentable, delicious, nutritious or did it just come from a box again or the whole meal was prepared by someone, somewhere else?
3. Do I take the time to sample local markets or go to shops with more natural, fresher selection?
4. When I eat, do I eat with my family and talk, laugh and live with them or do we plop in front of the TV and ignore each other though we are laughing at the same funny thing?
5. Do we talk about the foods we eat and why? How to have a better range of foods?
6. Do we put extra effort to dress up the table when company is coming or do we equally prepare the table on an ordinary night so the meals and the company feel special?
7. Do we take the time to appreciate those around us especially the ones that live under the same roof? Do we do it through careful food choices so they can be assured that they are cared for?

Just a reminder that in our quest for the fountain of youth, we often forget that the journey and choices we make along the way, is how we find the fountain of youth, wherever we are.

TABLESCAPING IDEAS: (Brain is a little nervous, V-day is in 2 days and a lot of people are coming.) Formal tables should not be stodgy; you can create a formal setting within a fun theme or a fun setting within a formal theme. Let the colors announce the season or reason and let the setting be the focus that gets the job done. No matter how you set a formal table, make it fun and memorable for you and your guests.

Ok, see you soon!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Spice Up your Life!

And what I mean by that is make your own spice mixes to save time and have better flavor profile for your great dishes at your finger tips! It's healthier and more economical, not to mention time and space savers!

Chorizo or Sausage Spices
Clam Chowder spices
Paella Spices
Exotic dishes

All of these require more than 2 herbs or spices to distinctive flavor so why not cut on time and "bottle" these mixes and the next time you want... say, roast beef, you can just open up your cupboard and out of one bottle, you have your favorite roast beef taste and you know EXACTLY what's in it! No extra gluten, starch, caramel or coloring agents to worry about!

Brain is at it again! Love her little "fiery" contributions! (Get it?)

Enjoy and see you later!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Valentine's Day is almost here again...

I would like to apologize for not being around for a while. Lots happened and hoping this year would be a year of being able to catch up will all of you. BY THE WAY... How do you like the new banner? Do you get it?

For now, let me leave you with some VALENTINE'S DAY tips...

Valentine's Day do not, I repeat do not have to be just for 2! Since it's a day to celebrate L-O-V-E, why not focus on that and celebrate it thru the following suggestions?

1. Family Dinner- make a menu that you know everyone loves and set the table with cute and loving sayings. It's like Thanksgiving in February!

2. Friends & Romance Mix- invite couples to join you for a romantic buffet at your place and have a little game to boot! Have each couple bring a dessert. You'll enjoy great company and conversation plus, you'll save $$$ from having to wait hours for a reservation you had to make months in advance!

3. Play the Restaurant Game- have the kids "serve" you your dinner for two while they eat in another room after serving you. Give them a timer of 1 hour, then they come back and "clean up" your table.

4. Make it Silly! - who says you have to be formal? Get cheesy with the decor and the food, fun!

5. Find Another Table- picnic on your bedroom floor, create a bistro set by a bay window, candlelight dinner on the coffee table, anywhere new is romantic and exciting to share a wonderful meal with your sweetheart.

6. Time it well- plan your menu for the time you want to eat. Too heavy and the romance is shot! Too light and you'll be busy raiding the fridge.

7. Scrap the scraps!- photograph or record the food, table and you two enjoying the meal and each other's company. How can you top something you can't remember, right?

On this note, Brain and I want to wish you all, HAPPY VALENTINES DAY! In a week...

Yes, I will post pictures of my newest table and I'd like to assure you, I haven't lost my touch!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Irish Tranquility

Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day and I wouldn't have time to take pictures tomorrow or of tomorrow's dinner since that's typical of our household.

Ever since I decided to do another St. Patrick's Day tablescape this year, back in February, I can't stop thinking about how the Irish show their love for their country and how beautiful it must be to see miles and miles of green hillsides and coastline full of life.

But I was more inspired of the thoughts of how a typical Irish family takes a big sigh and just soak it all in.

"The Tranquil Irish Springtime"

The Muggy Days in Ireland

I went to Tuesday Morning yesterday and found these 6 cool b&w dessert plates called, "Pasadena Blackbirds" by Coastline Imports. I got them for $3,99 each or 60% off! Sweet!

I then paired them with my Ambiance "Aristocrat" in butter yellow, my new silverware, "Embossed Scroll" from BHG, and Classic Smoke by Anchor Hocking.

Ireland have also their own local flock of blackbirds: Grackels, Starlings, Sparrows, Thrush.

    I love how flat these plates are! The picture is barely interrupted.

 Before the candles were lit...

 After we turned off the dining room lights and lit the candles.
 Can't you just imagine this being in an Irish home with the weather muggy and wet?

 I set my previous centerpiece on one end since there'll only be 4 of us, I kept the middle clear.
 On the end, a "LUCKY" wood sign from Hobby Lobby.

 At Kohl's, I found these Food Network 4-pc Monogrammed Napkins, C and M, our initials, both my  husband and I. They were 80% off!

Thank you for stopping by and hope to see you all again!

TABLESCAPING IDEAS: (Brain is feeling calm...) Wonder how another country lives when they're not celebrating their holidays? Probably over a relaxing table. So why not put together a table that says this is my time to breathe... Use colors that draw your eyes to the center and keep it there. Muted colors against neutral; use colors of what calms you down or scenes of tranquility often depicting nature.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Early St. Pat's Dinner...


We had a back to back celebration in three, count it, three days. So I've been busy. But I'm joining in the St. Pat's parties at Cuisine Kathleen's and A Holiday Haven so here I am!!! I'm also linking up at Leigh's Thrifty Thursdays meme at Tales from Bloggeritaville. Thanks for hosting this much fun, ladies!

First, last Saturday, my son turned 10, so we had the house looking like this:  We used blue, green and black, but I wasn't paying attention to the colors of the balloons and I accidentally picked up purple ones. lol

Dining Room turned birthday party central!

Then, we had our church missionaries come over for dinner and I wanted to participate in Kathleen Cuisine's St. Pat's party, so I had the Dining Room looking like this!

Dreaming of Ireland

Ireland's Lush Green Hills

I wanted a more organic feel to my St. Pat's table, an homage to the luscious green that is Ireland rather than just the holiday so... I used real greenery from my own front yard! The necklaces adorning the chandelier were from DT. I got 5 of them since it held 2 each.
Here are what I used:
PLATE: Canopy "Golden Wheat"- $1 each, Walmart, 2009
BOWL: Ikea Earthenware Beige- 86 cents each, 2010
GLASSES: Anchor Hocking "Classic Smoke" - $1 each, Target, 2010
TABLECLOTH: Fabric Shower Curtain-Unused- FREE, GIFT, 2010
RUNNER: Ross, 2009
NAPKINS: Ross, 2009
RIBBON: Dippin' Dots (Green/Brown) - $2.97, Walmart, 2012
UTENSILS: BHG "Embossed Scroll" - $1.25 each, Walmart, 2012
 These branches came off our trees in the front, the runner is an upside down of a regularly Fall runner and the vases were from the DT, $1 each. The whole look gave me a sense of being on a hillside in Ireland during a windy, muggy day... Which was how it was that day for us outside!
 If you notice the middle of the centerpiece is a nice gap so I saw my DH just fine and our guests loved all the green!

 There's the gap...

 The chargers, called "Emerald Green" was a great find at Goodwill near where I work. And for $1.50 for 6, it was perfect!!! The glass stones were also from DT.
 I didn't get to light the candles, but that's ok, it just added to the "green-ness" of the whole table!

We started with a hearty, creamy soup, "Potato and Crab" (Ireland is known for their seafood markets and potatoes and beef) and the traditional "Brown Bread" or "Irish Soda Bread".
This is not a great picture of the delicious "Irish Beef Stew" I made. This is what's left over after serving 6 people.
For dessert, I made a pretend "Irish Coffee" mousse without any alcohol but from the vanilla. The whipped topping is freshly made, too. It had mock coffee because we don't drink any.
That whipped cream was so perfect that it suspended two big raspberries!
We also served them ice water and "Green" lemonade! Lemonade with 5 drops of green food coloring. So cool!

We get to use this table again this Saturday, but with a different look. Until then, thank you for stopping by and let's party like the Irish! Erin go bragh!

TABLESCAPING IDEAS: (Brain is seeing Green) No need to go to the grocery store to make centerpieces. Just use the local greenery and bring it in to cozy up the holidays!

Niceties first

HELLO AND WELCOME to this blog dedicated to my obsession of tablescapes, and ONLY TABLESCAPES!
That means that whatever I post will be redirected to tablescapes or you will see tablescapes or the dishes and glassware that I used AND wish to use.
I hope you like you what you see; but you can't do that unless you take the tour- the TABLESCAPE TOUR that's on the side bar! I'd also love to take you on my adventures on finding great dinnerwares to display and use while leaving some serious change in your pocket, so stay a while and see all of my great deals!
Wanna know the reason behind the madness, too? Then make sure to read, Why this blog for my philosophy.