Wednesday, March 4, 2009

From the Herb Garden-Tablescape Thursday

From The Herb Garden Tablescape Thursday..

Spring is in the air…well at least on the way. My Tablescape Thursday is From the Herb Garden. I have been collecting bits & pieces of Fitz & Floyd for a long time. They drift my way as gifts, as great buys at Flea markets, yard sales or TJ Maxx. I love their whimsical animals-especially the rabbits-did I mention I love rabbits. So here is my breakfast room table set for a leisurely lunch. With bread & brioche with chocolate & strawberry butters followed by a plate of home made chocolate chip scones. Fresh fruit & turkey tea sandwiches with cranberry chutney.

The woven chargers are Pier 1, but I got them at a yard sale for $8.00 for a set of 10. The original price tag of $15.00 each was still on the bottom! The tablecloth is a Raymond Waites fabric remnant I bought at a local co-op. I got the lovely green woven placemats at Target marked down to $2.47 for a set of 4. The butter-yellow napkins were a steal at $1.74 for a four-pack & the fruit plates were under $5.00. The nifty butterfly plates I bought at a church thrift sale for $2.00 & then found a second set of four at Goodwill for $6.00. The ceramic fruit & vegetable boxes I collected years ago. They just tickled my fancy at the time & usually parade across the bottom of my Irish dresser in the kitchen.
The flatware is an old Rogers pattern in silver plate called “Vintage”. I picked it up as a service for six at a flea market years ago.

Don’t the flowers look real? The centerpiece is one of my latest arrangements. Too soon for the real thing from my garden. The roses are silk in faux water. The yellow rose napkin rings are a package clip-on I bought at a local dollar store. The petals look & feel real. I tied the napkin with a plaid, wired ribbon bow & just clipped them on. The candlesticks are Victorian spatter glass-another co-op find.

Try some flavored butters for your next brunch or tea. My favorite is the chocolate!

Tea Butters

For chocolate butter-melt ½ cup chocolate on low in microwave-I like to use Wilbur buds in dark chocolate. Allow to cool, but still workable. Have about ½ cup butter at room temp. Slowly with a hand mixer, blend chocolate into butter. If it is too runny refrigerate till easier to spread.

Fruit butters-For each fruit butter you will need ½ cup whipped butter at room temp & ¼ cup of your favorite flavor of jam-strawberry, raspberry, orange marmalade, blueberry….the combinations are endless.

With a hand mixer, blend jam into butter. Transfer to a pretty serving dish. Try the orange on a cranberry scone. Mmmm…

Here is a close-up of the napkin ring.

Thoughts of Spring

For the past several days temperatures here have been in the 20's. It snowed Monday & even though the sun has been shining, with the cold temps, the snow has lingered. The pond is frozen over completely, when only last week you could see down to the bottom.

For my first Outdoor Wednesday, I profile my garden instead of bleak & snow-covered but as it will be with the first kiss of Spring.

Be sure to visit our hostess for this lovely event at A Southern Daydreamer & join in the fun!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Chicken Soup

On Thursday I woke up with a good dose of the common cold. I was still able to function through a normal day but by evening I was pretty beat. My husband came home from work with all the appropriate cold remedies & a bouquet of flowers to brighten my spirits. On Friday morning he woke up with the flu, so we spent the weekend into Monday in turn playing nursemaid to one another. I spent my day Friday running up & down the stirs with Jell-O, water, & chicken soup. Monday it snowed all morning & we spent our day wrapped up in quilts by the fireplace. I made the best of things by flipping though magazines & reading a book I have had for some time, but had not yet read. If you like historical fiction, you may enjoy this one-Thirteen Moons by Charles Frasier. I read Cold Mountain when it first came out. I found it a good read, but a bit grisly at times. Thirteen Moons was excellent & I’d love to see another book from Charles Frasier. Here is one of our favorite “comfort” foods.

Mom’s Chicken Soup

12 cups chicken broth or 2 large cans 49-1/2 oz each
Hand full of baby carrots cut on the diagonal- about 1 cup chopped
1 stalk celery-cut on the diagonal plus leaves finely chopped
Freshly ground sea salt & pepper to taste
¼ teaspoon marjoram – (dried)
1 teaspoon dried or 1 TB fresh-(chopped) parsley
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic granulated
¼ teaspoon granulated onion
1/3 bag of egg noodles

I usually fly-by-the-seat-of my-pants when I am making this recipe, but have tried to measure for once instead of a pinch of this…a dash of that…
I always find it is good for “what ails you”, and if you use a thicker egg noodle, it re-heats well again & again. You can add shredded chicken if you are making your broth from “scratch”

Bring broth or stock to the boil. Add chopped carrots, celery & seasonings. Reduce heat to low, maintain a gentle boil until carrots & celery are fork tender. Sample a spoonful of broth & add more salt/pepper to taste. Add noodles & simmer till noodles are al dente, about ten minutes. You can adjust the amount of noodles to your liking. Remember as they cook, they absorb the broth.