Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter for 15 in 20 Hours.....!

So the yearly stalemate over which branch of our family tree will host the next holiday ended last Sunday night. Dad decided that he could host Easter at his house.....which means that yours truly gets to play hostess with the mostest. Again. Now that my calluses have healed on my feet from Christmas (oh, the sheer agony of standing on hardwood floors for hours on end!), they have been called back in for active duty.

Tomorrow morning will be a flurry of last-minute ironing, a trip to church to celebrate, and organizing the parade of pans that will march in and out of my oven over 4 hours. Details on floral arrangements, desserts, and Easter "baskets" for the nieces and nephews to come shortly, but here is my menu for tomorrow. Simple and delicious. 

Ham with brown sugar and molasses glaze
Au gratin potatoes
Steamed carrots and broccoli
Cheesecake with caramel sauce and toasted pecans

Bourbon, Bread, Eggs, and Cream: Who Needs More?

Hot bread pudding, resplendent with the scent of bourbon!

I recently ran into the most delicious bread pudding recipe from Martha Stewart: Louisiana Bread Pudding.

In a New Orleans-inspired dinner, I took my first stab at a jambalaya complete with chunks of spicy andouille sausage. Since that dish was a complete meal in a pot, all I needed was something sweet to top it off. 

I had never made bread pudding before, and wasn't sure if I'd like the consistency. I do not understand what I was so afraid of! The result was hot, custard-y, sweet, and made more interesting by a heaping handful of glazed pecans. I suppose the dash of Kentucky bourbon plus the drizzle of a boozy cream sauce didn't hurt either....

This particular recipe called for raisins, but since I don't like raisins, I thought of a few other mix-ins that would serve quite well, including slivered almonds, craisins, and my glazed pecans. 
The finished product, complete with bourbon cream sauce

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spring Re-Set

I wish I could tell you amazing reasons why I haven't posted anything new in the last month and a half, but the fact of the matter is, I've been a lazy bum. I moved to a new position in my company, and have been working long hours, but that isn't quite enough. I've been doing all kinds of spring-y tasks, including cleaning, re-decorating, and enjoying the yo-yo weather, but despite getting all kinds of great inspiration, I've yet to put out anything in cyberspace. 

At last, here it is. My Spring "re-set". I get the itch in early-to-mid March, to shed heavy draperies and rugs, to change my linens, and to prepare myself for the onslaught of sunshine and heat. 

The tumble of throw pillows from my linen closet

My houndstooth club chair gets a sweet little embroidered pillow from IKEA
Down come the red velveteen winter curtains, and up go the lightweight silk dupioni curtains
 It's always so fun to bring the next season's linens out of the closets; they seem new again after their months of storage. I also find myself buying little thises and thats at the end of the season when everything is on clearance; I've often forgotten that I've bought them by the time I bring them out again! That was the case with the little birdcage napkin rings I put away last Fall.
The heavy Fall/Winter rug comes up...

...And is replaced with the durable sisal rug
Every corner of my apartment gets a little spruce-up. I change the artwork, bathmat, and shower curtain in my bathroom; I change out the curtains and pillows in my bedroom. The kitchen got a new rag rug and a little color by way of springy towels. Add in a day or two of Spring sunshine and open windows, and my place has a new lease on life. 
Spring tablescape: ironstone, new napkins, and a French toile runner (repurposed after my sister's graduation party last year)

Darling little napkin rings from Pottery Barn that I got last Fall on clearance
One of my little Spring projects: installing under-shelf lighting to brighten the dim interior of my hutch 

A sunny window in my apartment

Re-set complete!