Wednesday, December 21, 2011

SEVEN-NINETY-NINE




This happens to be Post #799, since I first began in 2008, and I keep telling myself that I HAVE to offer something besides a camera angle pointed down into a dish of FOOD.   But it is what it is---a lovely box of Caro's Christmas Wonderfuls, packed in pretty boxes all lined up on the counter, and right now out and being delivered by Chris.

I can take no credit for any of these, save for one batch of fudge, with the squares nestled beneath all of Caro's painstaking work.   

They both love spreading the joy, all year long, and their dear caring hearts are amongst my Major Gratefuls in Life.  

And I wish you all a SWEET, warm wonderful day.

Monday, December 19, 2011

MONDAY MORNING

Just checking in, and hoping everybody's well and warm out there, and enjoying all the wonders of this glorious season.


You know, I've never tried out any of those blogs which list each and every moment of the blogger's life, nor would I EVER inflict such a litany of all our dull doings upon anyone kind and interested enough to visit here.


But, maybe just THIS ONCE:


TRUE CONFESSION:

I've spent the morning holed up in the Cough Corner over there, with a big roll of tissue, the Halls, a soft banky, and the three-hour season finale of SONS OF ANARCHY.


There.   The secret's out.    Well, Y'ALL---it's HAMLET with HARLEYS.   What's not to love?




Perhaps I'll repent when I get all this Nyquil out of my system.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

SOMETHING SWEET




SOMETHING SWEET FOR YOU!!

I'm just a bit swampy here, Y'all, with an almost-conquered cold and LOTS still not done for Christmas or the company to follow.    Luckily, before I came down with this grunge, I made and wrapped one pan of fudge.   So, in addition to that huge treasure-trove up in Caro's kitchen, that ought to do for any holiday crowd that might visit. 

This is the easiest, best recipe I've ever found, so I hope you'll try it (and trust that you won't mind a bit of a re-run, til I'm up to posting again).

The BEST, EASIEST  FUDGE.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

CHRISTMAS TEA---2011


Six of us ladies gathered in the upstairs sitting room, just about candlelight time on Sunday.   The guests chatted with Caro whilst I came downstairs to put the final little touches on the table, take a couple of things out of the oven, and light the candles.


I know burgundy and pink aren't QUITE the standard Christmas colors, but I love the combination, with the whites and silvers of the china and napery.


My Mother's china---she had two sets-almost-alike, and many's the time I borrowed them for a pretty luncheon party or dinner.   I love the simple shine and all the memories of lovely times they evoke.   Like my own Mammaw and my Mother---I have a Walk-and-Pat Will, in which I point out things NOW to all the children, and make sure they know they're to have all the lovely things which I've enjoyed and remembered so well.  (Or could probably take them home with them, if they were so a-mind).


Caro is the Break-of Dawn Elf---I never know WHAT beautiful or thoughtful or tasty thing I'll find when I wake.   The chandelier and the downstairs tree were my greetings one day this past week.  The little burgundy bird atop is privy to LOTS of Christmas Secrets.

Our Tea Table.  From the back, a bowl of crisp pita chips, one of some really delicious gluten-free crackers, the crudite, Devilled Eggs and a mound of Paminna Cheese.   In front is a big thermal bowl of Caro's Asian Meatballs with soy, cilantro, sesame, garlic and sliced water chestnuts.   Then a plate of chicken salad in croissants, some twee little cream-cheese-and-cucumber Christmas Tree Sandwiches---the only bow to a REAL Afternoon Tea, I suppose.
Next is a bowl of shrimp with a Cajun Mayonnaise for dipping, and in the center are a bowl of Hummus, some Scoops, and the copper dish holds a sizzly gratin of hot Artichoke Dip, with lots of grated Parmesan.

Caro's Asian Meatballs.



Crudite---blanched snow peas, three-color peppers, fresh crisp sugar-snaps, cauliflower, baby English cukes, grape tomatoes, with a Ranch dip.

Cucumber trees with Philly Garden Spread.


Chicken Salad Croissants.


Hot Artichoke Dip.   In back is Hummus with Scoops.


And what Southern Party is complete without Devilled Eggs and Paminna Cheese?

As a matter if fact, every dish on the table was gluten-free except for the cucumber sandwiches and the croissants. I served my friend a scoop of the chicken salad (breast of chicken, minced celery and apples, boiled egg and Hellman's) out of the dish in the fridge, and she gladly partook of everything else but the bread items.

She sat, chirping happily over the lovely plate of party food, for she usually eats at home before they go out.    "Oh, I've been DREAMING of your Pimiento Cheese!" she exclaimed, and we gently taught her the Southern pronunciation, echoed all around the table by all the ladies at once--all of us chiming in Puhhhh-minnnnna, like an old-fashioned spelling class.  And I think everyone took seconds of almost everything.






The Cheese Plate:   From one--Pecorino Romano, a Triple Cream Brie, Morbier, and Gorgonzola. Also included, 2 types of dried figs, apricots, dates, green grapes and Seckel pears. On the side, not pictured, a new jar of Adriatic fig spread. The Morbier had a duskier, more ashy rind to it than usual. 

It was a relaxing, laughing time with good friends, and of the exchange of all the Christmas Sweets we made and exchanged---moire non, perhaps on Friday.

Monday, December 12, 2011

OF TEA. . .MOIRE NON


HAPPY MONDAY!!

I wish you could have all been right here for our Tea Party yesterday, and when I'm all finished with all the putting away and all the re-tellings of our fun to Sweetpea, I'd love to share some of our evening.

Until . . . Moire Non,



Friday, December 9, 2011

SANTA HATS


Caro has already made I-Don’t-Know-How-Much candy and baked goods---all sorts of barks---with whole almonds, poured onto the platter with my mistakenly saying,“Whose plateful of Northern Beans is this?”  There are also other batches snugged into two high stacks of long Glad Boxes---with crushed Oreos, with crushed Nutter Butters, with crumbs of peppermint pinkening the entire puddle.

She’s made Heath bar and chocolate chip and one batch with Heath-chips-and-mini-M&M’s gaudifying the whole top of the chocolate pool, like every child’s candiest dreams. There are great pans of seven-layer bars and dozens of pretty candy-papers holding coconut haystacks.   I think I remember one big pan of a kid-version of Rocky Road, with only the marshmallows.

She’s stood in that kitchen for hours, and as soon as I make these three five-pound batches of fudge, we hope to be boxing and sending a sample of all the goodies to all the chillun around the country.  Plus, we're having a very small tea party/cookie exchange on Sunday afternoon.

Somewhere in all that great counterful of sweetness are five gallon-Ziplocs of “Crack”---the Chex/pretzel/peanut/M&M’s  dipped into white or dark chocolate and broken apart into the munchiest, cravingest stuff to come out of Candyland.   I’d suggested the addition of Bugles this year, thinking they’d look enough like little elf-hats  mingling into the mix, but she’d seen these little cuties online, and this is what I woke to this morning:

She had held them by the sharp tip, dipped them into red Wilton Candy-Melts, then dipped the little damp horn-bell into the tee-nineciest sand-sized nonpareil dust.    She laid them onto parchment, where a lot of them would balance on the open ends.   When they were dry, she held them by the fluff-ends, dipped the sharp ever-so-slightly into the red melt, then pressed a little marshmallow onto the end.

I have no idea what they’re destined for, but our tea party/cookie exchange on Sunday will feature some peeking out from the candy trays, I’m sure, and our little ones will receive the fairy-size little morsels in their packages.   They'll surely marvel and admire---for a brief moment at least, I imagine, before they munch.

I certainly admired and oohed and aahed, and though she hates the cutesy-poo word, I teased her by uttering an under-my-breath  “squeee!” as I left the room.   

I wish you could each and every one join us for Tea on Sunday!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

REPRIEVE?

You know that little sigh of relief you sometimes get when you find that an event or appointment or social gathering---especially company coming--- has been cancelled or postponed, even though you were REALLY looking forward to it?   You know how it feels to simply have the time back, and the evening or day or week to do normal stuff and just let down and not wax the floors this week, or get all those boxes out of the guest room just yet, or not have to wear those Spanx and can take off those uncomfortable shoes in favor of comfy old slippers, and go what-the-heck and plunder the fridge for supper?

That letting go, that leaving off of preparation, that escape from the scurry to get things done in time---that REPRIEVE.   I think I’m in one of those---for our Thanksgiving group had to postpone their trip until after Christmas.   And so, we’ve had the days to put up one of the trees, plus we’re SIMPLIFYING everything this year---especially the d├ęcor (less is less and MORE is banished to the storage room).   We’ll have lots of lively young folks filling up the rooms, so we want to clear away all the geegaws and tabletops and sofa-cushions---just to fill the space with good times and plenty of room for the fun stuff.

And I didn’t in ANY way need a reprieve from THEM---I could just scoop up their cheery presences with a SPOON---it’s the fact that I haven’t yet had to move THAT chair to vacuum behind for the stray Poppycock, or run all the clean bankies through a lovely warm freshening cycle, readying all the beds for all the storytimes and sweet sleeps.
Or get this pickup load of stocking-stuffers and bags of books and camping stuff out of the kids’ bedroom.  


So, instead of taking a leisurely pace at the readying, we decided to have a tea-party this coming Sunday.  I’m perfuming the house with Old English and Windex and Pine Sol and Scott’s Liquid Gold, and blessing those little Mr. Clean sponge-thingies, a mighty step-stool for fridge-tops, some big ole pink gloves and an endless coffeepot.

If I don’t faint from the fumes, I’ll see you at the Tea-Table.   One lump or two?





Endive with chevre, dried cherries, and walnuts candied in Port.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

BOSOM BUDDIES

The rainy patch on the weather map stretches from the Coast to the Great Lakes, and apparently the GREEN is going to cover us for several days.   And so for all of us who need a little sunshine, a smile, and a little BRIGHT---

Here are  two of the brightest spots in the Show-Biz Firm-a-Ment:  Angela and Bea.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

CHECKIN' IT TWICE



A little girl came out of school into the bright wind, running into the breeze, delighted with the freedom and the prospects of meeting her Mommy for lunch at her favorite restaurant---the one with the big playroom with all its colorful slides and stairs and big windows and fun things to do.



She got into the car with her grandparents, and they all met at the restaurant, ordered, and ate their lunch.   As they sat, they saw several children go in and out of the doors to the playroom, and once, a beautiful little girl in a black leotard and tutu came out, her face streaked with tears, and ran toward her Mother.    She pointed back at the doors, was comforted, and stayed with the others at her table.



Our own little girl finished her lunch, and asked to go inside and play.   Her Grandmother got out the washcloth, washed her face and hands, and they went into the playroom, at that time filled with a loud tangle of little boys and girls.    Grandmother sat, and little one went into the staircase-tube to climb up; she reached the little balcony, and began to turn the big bright cogs of the wheel on the window.



“Listen to my MUSIC!” she said, the words muffled a bit by the plastic shield.   Her Grandmother nodded and smiled, as our little girl’s Mommy came in the door.   “Please go finish your lunch,” she said, and Grandmother responded, “In a moment; I’m enjoying this.” 


They sat for a few moments, as Mommies called their children out for Time to Go, and other kids wandered in and out.    In just a bit, the Grandmother noticed that our Little Girl was still up HIGH on the balcony, along with a couple other children---two little silvery-haired boys, perhaps four and five.    Another minute and there was a wail from Our Girl, then a full-out CRY, as Mommy and Grandmother jumped up from their bench.



Mommy called out, asking what was wrong---answered by more and more loud crying.  



Mommy shouted at the biggest boy to let Our Girl get by onto the stairs, and at the other one to stop blocking the slide so she could come down.   It took quite some time, and quite a few loud words from Mommy, but they finally moved and Our Girl finally came down the slide, tears dripping and her cheeks pink with the crying, and was taken gently out the door by Mommy.



Grandmother remained behind, placidly sitting on the bench, as the two little boys slid down and halted at the bottom of the slide, turning their backs to her.    “Oh, My,” she said, in her soft, kind voice, with its southern accent still apparent despite her long years in the North.   “Do you not know who that IS?”



She pointed out through the glass at the Little Girl, sitting on the lap of a round, jolly fellow, with kind eyes and twinkly glasses and rosy cheeks and his red shirt setting off his snowy hair and beard, as he wiped away Our Girl’s tears.  

The little boys peeped,  then looked at Grandmother with WIDE eyes.    “He’s her GRANDDADDY,” said the round lady softly, her own rosy cheeks and small gold glasses twinkling beneath her little bun of  pale hair.    


The boys took another look, eyes big as plums, and did not move as the Grandmother turned and left the room, gently closing the door behind her.