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Friday, May 16, 2014

A Spring Coffee

I just love azalea season, so when I had the opportunity to have a great group of women to our home for coffee, I jumped at the chance to entertain them this month.  

It was just a simple coffee with juice, fruit, and coffeecake, but I really wanted it to celebrate spring.

After deciding on the azaleas as a centerpiece, I used this striped runner from Ikea.  I think it was about $6.00.  Gotta love Ikea!  Then I added these little velvet birds for a little more springness.  Is that a word?  Spell check says it's not.

My favorite china to use this time of year is this Lu-Ray china with its mix of pastels.  It's from the 40's and I've collected it for ages.  You can see the Easter table I set with it here.

The juice glasses are a mix of some wonderful old depression glass ones and some Ikea ones.  They are not carrying this particular color now, but do have this style in some other colors.

The luncheon plates are pretty small, so I put them out for our coffee and fruit.  I guess servings were a lot smaller 60 years ago, as lots of china seems dainty in comparison to today's plates.

I just love to use this mixture of silverplate.  You can see that the keystone shape is the same, but the patterns are different.  I think that makes an interesting table.

You can hardly tell in this photo, but these are light pink.  They iron very easily, so I never hesitate to use them.  Call me crazy, but I'd rather iron napkins than use paper, except for maybe cocktails.

The fruit is on a lettuce patterned platter from Pottery Barn.  I wish I had bought the plates that matched.

Coffee and tea set-up.  This makes it self-serve and keeps things hot for the duration.  Since it is a 2-hour drop-in window for the coffee, this works so much better than a silver service or urn.

Mixed berries.  Yum.

The star of the show was this unassuming blueberry coffeecake.  Seriously.  You have to try this.  No, really, you HAVE to try this.  I thought I had a great recipe for this and then my world was rocked when I ate the version they serve at a funky little restaurant here in Atlanta called The Flying Biscuit Cafe.  It serves  wonderful comfort food, mostly vegetarian, some vegan, and is run by a woman names April Moon.  Don't you love that name?  Well, when I learned that she had a cookbook, I was praying that this recipe was included......and it WAS!  I love many of the recipes, but I must admit that my copy opens automatically to "Cream Cheese Coffeecake".  Here's the recipe:

Cake Batter:
2 sticks (1 c.) butter, at room temperature
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt

Cake Filling:
2 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese at room temperature
1 egg yolk
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla

Cake Topping:
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. flour
4 T. butter, room temperature

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9x13 baking pan.  Set aside.
2.  Make the cake batter.  In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add eggs one a a time, scraping the bowl well after each addition.  Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and add to the butter mixture.  Beat until flour is incorporated and batter is thick, pale, and creamy.  Set aside.
3.  Make the cake filling.  Using an electric mixer, combine all ingredients.  Mix until sugar is dissolved and filling is smooth.
4.  Make the cake topping.  Combine sugar and flour in a small bowl.  Using a pastry cutter or your fingertips, cut butter into sugar and flour until mixture is crumbly.  Set aside.
5.  Spread half of the cake batter over the bottom of the prepared baking pan.  Then spread the filling over the cake batter.  If you wish to add chocolate chips, peaches, or blueberries, sprinkle them over the filling now.  Using a large spoon, evenly distribute remaining cake batter over filling in small dollops.  Sprinkle entire cake surface with cake topping and bake for 45 minutes.

Serves and satisfies the masses.  You can make this several days ahead, but I recommend refrigerating it.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wedding China Refreshed

I am joining Kathleen of Cuisine Kathleen for her wedding china link party.  Take a trip over to her blog and see what she has put together for this fun topic!

While there are times that I want to use my wedding china in all of its formality with fine crystal, sterling and damask, I use it much more frequently with a wink to informality.  

This was my grandmother's formal  china, and her name was Rose Ellie.  Mine being Linda, she always wanted me to have her china because of the name of the pattern, Rosalinde.  Get it?  So, when we were engaged and beginning to think about registering for gifts, she told me not to register for china, as I could have hers as her wedding gift to us.  I was overjoyed!  I have always, always loved this pattern, and thought that I might only get it when she passed away.

Can you imagine what a thrill it was to have her for our first "fancy" dinner in our crummy little apartment to dine on her cherished dishes?  She was so complimentary of the table and the meal, but she did point out to me that this largest sprig of roses should always go at the top of the place setting, a detail I had never thought to pay attention to.  Every single time I have used it since then, I think of her as I put the plates on the table, "big spring up"!

In place of a charger, I used this cabbage placemat to sort of bring it down a notch.  I got them years ago at the floral wholesaler and I have never seen them since. 

If you study the painting on the dishes, you see lavender and pink roses.  I usually choose pink roses to go with this, but my soft pink peonies were blooming and I wanted to cut some before the rain came this morning, so they seemed the perfect soft pink choice.  Then I added some veronica and blue pin cushion and put them in this cream colored pottery pitcher.  

Be still my heart!  This choice of  container kept things a little more formal, too.  Just envision how different these same flowers would look in a crystal vase.

Again, I left the sterling in the safe and used this flatware from World Market.  I started with pink handled flatware, but it wasn't a perfect match with the napkins, so I changed.  The pink linen napkins are gathered into an apple blossom ring from Pottery Barn.

This heavy green goblet was also our wedding "crystal".  It took me years to realize that it was glass and not terribly fine, because I have always thought it made a great combination with the Haviland china.  Now, I have Waterford that I use for formal dinners, but I still love this Imperial pattern.  I used it here with Juliska glasses for wine.

There are no marks on this little dish, but I just love it.  It might be Majolica, but I hesitate to say for sure.

This was a cozy lunch for three, but made a bit more special by the china selection.

Gramma wouldn't have ever used this like this, but that's what I love about today's "no rules" attitude toward entertaining.  Thank you, sweet Gramma.  I learned so much from you.

Also joining:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Cinco de Mayo

I'm re-posting a Cinco De Mayo party that we had with some of our favorite people.  There is no way I'm entertaining tonight, so this is the closest I'm getting to a party today.  I am, however, fixing a yummy dish of chicken enchiladas and yellow rice.  I might even wear my sombrero!

Take fourteen dear friends, a beautiful evening, a potluck format, a festive table......and you get an evening of fun and memory making.

This was the placesetting at the dining room table.  I sat 8 in there and 6 in the bar.  I have had these stripped placemats for a long time so I used them to bring in all of the colors of Cinco de Mayo.  Then I cooled things down a bit with plain white plates.

Hair elastics gave the napkins a little Carmen Miranda feeling.

I pulled out some green flatware for even more color.

This big succulent was out in the garden in a zinc pot, so it became the centerpiece....

and I supplemented it with these mums.  I wanted sunflowers, as they seem so Mexican, but this was the closest I could come this weekend.

Maracas and beads from Party City and peppers from Kroger added to the decor.

And then I added these folding flowers to the chandelier and this table was ready.

In the bar, I put the leaves up on the  trestle table, added a stripped runner and some straw mats.  Then I used the same napkins and napkin "rings" and more white plates.

This time I used red flatware and small blue glasses.

I used another dish of succulents in the garden, and used more black-eyed mums.

This is not too much to look at on its own, but all together it worked for a fun, fast setting.

I repeated the maracas, beads, and peppers.

The drinks were set up behind the bar in a colorful display.

These traditional Mexican party flags were made on my Silhouette cutter and strung on kitchen twine.

Besides these colorful plastic margarita glasses, I bought these fun, furry little adhesive mustaches and put them on the wine glasses.  Thank you Party City!  They had a great selection of Cinco de Mayo items.

I also added some Mexican soda, mainly for the colors!

In one of the guest baths, I put those little mums and some fresh oregano in the little Black Forest bird vase.  The color is really off in this photo.  Our toilet is NOT really green!

The other guest bath had a wink to Cinco de Mayo, too.

Besides the fresh flowers and vegetables, I found these stripped guest towels that look like serapes.  I have often heard that, much like St. Patrick's Day in Ireland, Cinco de Mayo is not really celebrated that much in Mexico, but I'll throw a party just because the sun came up in the morning!  I let someone else entertain for the Derby and I took the Sunday gig.

The front door welcomed our guests with a sombrero and a bouquet of orange ranuculus. 


Also joining:

The Scoop

Feathered Nest Friday

Tablescape Thursday

Seasonal Sunday

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