Home Sweet Holiday Home: Our Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

Home Sweet Holiday Home is all about our favorite Thanksgiving side dish recipes.  Delicious anticipation over our favorite Thanksgiving side dish recipes builds all year long, and inquiring minds and holiday appetites drive family and friends home to break bread and give thanks for these favorite thanksgiving side dish recipes.


Our holiday dinner menu is influenced by traditional, new traditional, and regional Thanksgiving side dish recipes.  Family is well represented through the memorable dishes found on our Southern family dinner table.   antique-silver-salt-pepper-shakers

Here’s two of our favorite Thanksgiving side dish recipes full of Louisiana flavor for the season.


Creole Baked Oyster Dressing


2 (16-ounce) containers shucked oysters, drained, liquor reserved
6 tablespoons butter
1½ cups chopped onion
⅓ cup chopped green onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
12 ounces day-old French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
½ cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1½ teaspoons Creole seasoning
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray a 13×9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Coarsely chop any large oysters.  Set aside.

In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Remove 2 tablespoons butter and reserve.  Add onions, celery, and bell pepper; cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add sage, parsley, thyme, and garlic; cook 1 minute. In a large bowl, combine onion mixture, bread, bread crumbs, lemon juice, Creole seasoning, salt, and pepper; stir until combined.  Add oysters and 1 cup of reserved oyster liquor; stir gently.  Spoon into prepared pan.  Drizzle with reserved 2 tablespoons melted butter.

Bake, lightly covered, 15 minutes. Uncover and bake until bread is lightly browned and oysters are curled around the edges, about 25 minutes more. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Louisiana Cookin’


Asparagus with Crawfish Hollandaise


2 pounds green asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup butter, melted
½ (16-ounce) package crawfish tails


Preheat oven to 350°.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and add asparagus.  Top with canola oil, salt, and pepper, and brush evenly with basting brush. Bake until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, add water to a large saucepan, and bring to a simmer. In a stainless steel bowl, add egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne.  Hold bowl over simmering water making sure bottom of bowl does not touch water, and whisk vigorously until volume of egg mixture doubles.  Slowly whisk in melted butter until sauce is thick and combined.  Remove from heat, and stir in crawfish.  Serve immediately over asparagus.

Louisiana Cookin’


Sweet Potato Casserole


3 cups mashed sweet potatoes

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup milk

½ cup melted butter


½ cup brown sugar

1/3 cup flour

1/3 cup melted butter

1 cup chopped pecans


Combine first 6 ingredients. Pour into a buttered 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish. Mix remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over top.  Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes, until hot and browned.  Serves 6 to 8.

Southern Food


Tee’s Corn Pudding


½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 package (8-½ ounces) corn bread/muffin mix
½ cup 2% milk
1 can (15-¼ ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (14-3/4 ounces) cream-style corn


Preheat oven to 325°.   In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in sour cream.  Gradually add muffin mix alternately with milk.  Fold in corn.

Pour into a greased 3-qt. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, 45-50 minutes or until set and lightly browned.  Makes 8 servings.

Southern Living

favorite thanksgiving side dish recipes

Click on the links below for full recipe

Juniper-Marinated Mushrooms and Onions

Lemony Green Beans

Mashed Sweet Potato with Melted Leeks

Simply Scalloped Potatoes

buttermilk-cornbreadLook at that crispy edge perfection- the hallmark of Southern buttermilk cornbread.

Good cornbread is the base ingredient of great dressing.  I’ve enjoyed bread dressing, oyster dressing, and sausage dressing.  All are quite delicious in their own right, but our traditional holiday turkey dinner is not complete without Southern buttermilk cornbread dressing.  Here is my recipe for the cornbread:

Buttermilk Cornbread


3 Tablespoons oil

2 cups buttermilk self -rising white corn meal mix

1 cup self-rising flour

½ Tablespoon baking powder

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup milk


Set oven to 425 degrees. Preheat oven while preparing cornbread mix. Mix corn meal and flour into mixing bowl. Stir in milk and eggs and mix well. Batter should be a medium thick consistency. Thin by adding additional milk until desired consistency is reached.  Grease baking pan or oven safe skillet(preferably a black cast iron skillet) with 3 Tablespoons cooking oil. Bottom of pan or skillet should be coated well but not swimming in oil.  Place pan in oven to heat oil.  Once oil is heated, remove pan from oven.  Pour batter into greased pan. Return pan or skillet to oven. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Buttermilk Cornbread Dressing


crumbled cornbread

¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning, optional

*We are in a sage free zone here at Places In The Home.  If you want to add this seasoning/herb to the recipe, I suggest ¼ teaspoon sage.

1 medium bunch green onions, chopped

1 cup celery, finely chopped

3 eggs, beaten

4-6 cups chicken(canned is fine) or turkey broth, or more as preferred


One skillet of crumbled cornbread will make approximately 6 servings. For dressing, crumble cooled cornbread by hand to a fine consistency with no lumps. Place crumbled cornbread in large mixing bowl. Add poultry seasoning, green onions, celery, beaten eggs and broth (½ cup at the time).  Mix well.  You want the consistency of your dressing to be soupy. Pour into lightly greased roasting pan or deep casserole dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour until top is lightly browned and knife inserted in center comes out clean.


Making Louisiana Gumbo: A Lesson In Flavors From Home

Making Louisiana gumbo is what’s cookin’ in the Places In The Home kitchen today.  Our son wants to master the art of the roux and the flavor ya ya of my gumbo recipe.  The plan is to introduce his Canadian friends and co-workers to Cajun cuisine.  A lesson in flavors from home far transcends roux and filé.


“Cajun cuisine is a technique-driven cuisine, because it’s a very humble style of cooking.  It’s about what can you do with humble ingredients like onions, celery, bell peppers, oil, and flour.  How can you intensify flavors and create meals that are satisfying and hearty and make you happy.”

-Frank Brigsten





1 cup flour

1 cup vegetable oil


Heat oil in a black skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add flour in gradually, stirring well.  Reduce heat to low.  Stir/whisk the mixture constantly until it reaches a rich brown color, approximately 30-40 minutes. You must stir/whisk constantly to prevent the roux from burning.  Black flakes indicate burned roux, and burned roux tastes horrible.  If you burn it, throw it out and start over.

Start over?

Start over.

 It’s worth it.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo 


8  cups water

3 chicken bouillon cubes

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 lb. package smoked sausage

1  12 ounce bag frozen chopped onions

1  12 ounce bag frozen chopped bell peppers

3 bay leaves

2 Tablespoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon celery salt

1 teaspoon fine black pepper, or to taste*

OR in place of salt and pepper season with 1 teaspoon Créole seasoning, or to taste*

1 cup white wine

cooked rice


Slice sausage into ½ inch pieces. Using a seasoned skillet for optimum taste results, cook the sliced sausage over medium-high heat until browned.  Transfer cooked sausage to plate lined with paper towels, allowing excess grease to drain.  Set aside.


Place chicken breasts in Dutch oven or stock pot, add water, and bring to a boil.  Season for broth with ½ teaspoon celery salt ½ black pepper. Stir and reduce heat to medium low, cooking chicken breasts until done, about 1 hour.  Transfer chicken breasts from pot to large mixing bowl.  Slice chicken breasts into strips and add back to broth.


Turn heat back to high and bring to boil.  Add prepared roux to broth and chicken mixture, whisking until roux dissolves.  Reduce heat to medium and add minced garlic, chopped onions, chopped bell pepper, bay leaves, chicken bouillon cubes, remaining celery salt and pepper (or Créole seasoning).   Carefully pour in white wine.  Stir to blend and incorporate.


Reduce heat to simmer. Simmer uncovered for approximately 2 hours, allowing all flavors to marry.  Remove bay leaves and skim any fat off the top of gumbo.  Add chopped green onions and continue to simmer for additional 5 minutes.


Serve gumbo over rice.  Top with a sprinkle of filé, more green onions, and hot sauce to taste, if desired.  Gumbo is delicious on the first day, and flavor filled filé fantastic the next day.



An Afternoon Drive: Houses of The Historic Garden District

George Clooney’s character in the movie Michael Clayton works for a prominent law firm in the capacity of janitor, a lean, mean cleaner of situations gone askew. Have you ever Googled the word askew?  This page alone proves the gang over at Google has quite a sense of humor.  Getting back to the George Clooney reference.  I am the Michael Clayton here at Places In The Home.  Keeping these home fires burning, running smooth and in balance comes with a certain amount of stress.  Being stressed is not good.  Stressed is desserts spelled backwards, but my backwards is big enough, if you know what I mean.  Enter a fat-free, stress-free and well, free Rx for the mind, body and soul.  An afternoon drive viewing houses of the historic Garden District clears away the cobwebs and reminds me how much I love what I do.

houses of the historic Garden DistrictCorinthian Columns

“Architecture mirrors eternal harmony….music echoes it.”  

Otto Van Simpon

Smooth jazz provides the background music while arches, and columns, and pillars (oh, my!) provide architectural eye candy.  A self-guided tour along brick-lined streets and Louisiana bayous sets a serene scene.


My Louisiana Parade of Homes series was a labor of love, and today’s post featuring local residential properties near and dear to my architectural and historical home loving heart is no different.


A cold front rolling across the area is to blame for the dark lighting in some of the images.

ES-garden-districtSpanish Colonial



Colonial Revival. Craftsman. Bungalow.


Italianate. Palladian. Georgian. Just to name a few architectural styles of the houses of the historic Garden District.


Modern architectural elements stand out among the grounds of these stately homes and manicured gardens.   The blooms of spring will make a grand statement and give me yet another reason to visit the Garden District.


One of several antique horse head hitching posts in the neighborhood.


The curb appeal allure is first found in the brick-lined street fronting the detailed brickwork of this single family stunner.


Have a wonderful weekend!

Love your style!

A Taste of Home: Mardi Gras Food Edition

I am an information junkie.  My travel journal is full of fascinating foodie factoids and regional fare ratings.  One never knows when the need for a conversation starter or trivia answer round the water cooler, dinner table or game board will present itself.  “The United Sweets of America” takes the reader on a culinary state-by-state road trip with a map of official and not-so-official desserts. Louisianians love their Mardi Gras food, and one of our absolute most delicious regional dishes came in as the state favorite. Curious to see what sweet treat sensation is deliciously associated with what state?  Click on the image below and the magic of link love will take you right on over to “The United Sweets of America”, a fun read by Slate associate editor L.V. Anderson.  By the way, the dessert ranked number one in Louisiana is, drum roll please, Bananas Foster.

mardi gras foodSlate

Speaking of which regional sweet treat your state is known for, when the calendar points to Mardi Gras season Mardi Gras food is the topic of Carnival culinary conversation. The Louisiana Loyal are finding themselves with a hankering for a taste of sweet home Louisiana. Phone calls, text messages and email requests for Mardi Gras food recipes come fast and furious during Mardi Gras season. Our Canadian snowbird son. The Missouri snow shoveling nephew.  Floridian flamingos and Don’t Mess with Texas cousins.  East Tennessean hills friends.  Chicago suburbs aunts and uncles.  I guess what they say is true- you can take the boy or the girl out of Louisiana but you can’t take Louisiana out of the boy or the girl.  The proof is in the bread pudding!  Gosh, does that sound good! Wondering what Mardi Gras food recipes inspire the masses to phone home?  Here’s a look at the Mardi Gras food and recipe requests thus far:

Bananas Foster

This legendary Louisiana dessert is the stuff flamboyant flambé tableside preparation and presentation culinary dreams are made of.  Bananas, melted butter and brown sugar dance the dance of caramelization awaiting generous pours of banana liqueur and dark rum.  The grand finale of flame and circumstance showcases the art of tableside exhibition, the lagniappe of New Orleans tradition.  The recipe for my version of Bananas Foster takes the top slot on our Mardi Gras food desserts menu.


King Cake

A King Cake is a sweet traditional cinnamon filled coffee cake style pastry glazed with topping and sprinkled with sugar in the Royal colors of purple, green, and gold. King Cake parties rule the Carnival season. Tradition dictates Mardi Gras revelers love the tradition of eating this Carnival confection during Mardi Gras season. The custom of the plastic baby baked into the cake is steeped in culinary Carnival tradition, and if you are the lucky reveler who gets the piece of King Cake with the baby you are named “King for a Day”.  With great King Cake power comes great King Cake responsibility.  Tradition dictates the “King for a Day” is obligated to host the next King Cake party.


Hoppin’ John Grits

Hoppin’ John Grits,  a Southern with a kick recipe of black eyed peas seasoned with chopped onions, bell peppers and celery (the Cajun trinity) and ham served atop white grits is low country goodness wrapped in Louisiana c’est si bon flavor. This recipe for Hoppin’ John Grits is another Mardi Gras food favorite.


Chicken and Sausage Gumbo 

gumbo-bowlClick on the link to view the recipe for Chicken and Sausage Gumbo 

This is the  email I received from the Canadian snowbird that kicked off this post:


Thanks for the King Cake recipe!

Could you send me your chicken and sausage gumbo and Big Easy potato soup recipes by chance?

Sent from my iPhone


Big Easy Potato Soup

4 large russet potatoes

4 tablespoons butter

generous pour olive oil

1 small yellow onion, peeled and chopped

2 cups chicken broth

3 cups milk

1½ tsp Creole seasoning (or to taste)


Microwave potatoes on high until tender.  Set aside and allow to cool slightly.  In a Dutch oven or stock pot, melt the butter and olive oil combination over medium heat.  Add chopped onions to melted butter and olive oil combo and sauté until translucent.  Stir in the chicken broth and milk, stirring to incorporate.  Add kosher salt and black pepper.  Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook  for 1o minutes, stirring frequently.

While the liquid stock and seasonings do their thing, let’s prepare the potatoes.

Using a fork, press each potato in center to half and remove skins. Discard skins. Gently mash potatoes with a fork.  Add mashed potatoes to milk and broth mixture, stirring well to combine.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until soup is creamy thick, about 15-20 minutes.

If the soup becomes too thick simply add more milk until desired consistency is reached.


Creole Seasoning

1/3  cup paprika

3 tablespoons dried oregano

3 tablespoons ground black pepper

2 tablespoons dried basil

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoons cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon granulated onion

4 teaspoons dried thyme

4 teaspoons granulated garlic

In a medium bowl combine paprika, dried oregano, ground black pepper, dried basil, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, granulated onion, dried thyme and granulated garlic.  Stir to combine.  Can be stored in an airtight container for up to three months.


Louisiana Parade Of Homes

Part II of our Louisiana Parade of Homes features local residential properties reminiscent of Louisiana history and culture.


Bayous and stately homes line the brick streets of the historic Garden District.


Louisiana history is a melange of varied cultures and influences. The accent mark is well placed over the French and Spanish influence that frames our architectural elements, Créole and Cajun cuisine and the law of the Louisiana land. Louisiana law is different from the other 49 states.


Our state Civil Code is adopted from the Napoleonic Code. Originally based on ancient Roman law, the Napoleonic Code deals in civil law with French and Spanish codes.  What is known as counties in the other 49 are known as parishes here in Louisiana.  You say antiquated, I say unique.  History and tradition holds a court of a different kind here in Louisiana.


“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”  

  Charles Caleb Colton


Neighborhoods are replete with Acadian, Southern Colonial, Spanish, Créole and French Louisiana architectural styles.



Southern opulence, historical influence and phenomenal curb appeal brings it all home.

Love your style!

Parade of Homes

This parade of homes is a love letter, a visual note of appreciation to the architects of modern marvels.


“Every great architect is – necessarily – a great poet.  He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age.” 

Frank Lloyd Wright


Mid-century modern architecture is the prominent feature of the local post-war suburbs historic district.  The houses of post-World War II subdivisions typically sit in the middle of large lots.   A notable design feature widely considered an essential architectural element, the expansive front lawn fashions suburbia whilst living city proper.


Fast forward 30+ years when contemporary came to town.

parade of homes



Dave the Builder and I have taken to the city streets with cameras and devices in hand, photographing local residential properties that exemplify distinctive architecture.  I will share our finds and favorites next week.

Love your style!

Not Too Far But Far Enough Away From Home: Travels to Small Southern Towns

August was a busy month of celebrations and milestones around Places In The Home.  Our son’s graduation from Louisiana State University, commencement ceremony and subsequent celebration(s) made for a busy first part of the month. When Dave the Builder suggested a regroup and recovery getaway for two I could not make reservations fast enough.  I’ve come to enjoy and appreciate the not too far but far enough away from home travels to small Southern towns.  These travel gems brimming with history, old houses, antiques and townsfolk who invite you to take in and be a part of the local flavor make a great weekend getaway destination perfect for recharging one’s battery.

St.-John's-Episcopal-ChurchSt. John’s Episcopal Church – Washington, Louisiana

Our long and winding road travels (well, our straight line I-49 travels) placed us center stage among the small Southern towns of Washington, Scott and Lafayette, Louisiana.  I learned a long time ago not to categorize our close to home jaunts as a non-vacation.  Trust me, these  just roll with the flow discovery excursions can pass a good time and pass for a real vacation.

Travels to Small Southern Towns

Washington, Louisiana is as sleepy as it is Southern, a small town full of history from steamboat days gone by.  Narrow streets shaded by mature oaks, magnolia trees, historical architecture, quintessential Southern homes ranging from the wow to the weathered, and an old high school full to the gills with antiques and vintage goodies seasons the local flavor.

old-houseBeauty does not always strike a pristine pose. This abandoned abode on a shaded street in a small Southern town piqued my interest, struck an architectural chord and became the subject of a subjective experience.  

You know you love antiquing when the indoor temperature almost matches the oppressive outdoor temperature ( 95+ degrees).  Note to self: antiquing in old buildings, warehouses, outdoors and in old high schools is an activity best enjoyed in the fall.  On this particular Louisiana summer Saturday, the Old Antique School Mall was full of hot air and hot finds priced fairly and in shop or home ready condition.  I didn’t have a clue what I was looking for, but something told me I would know it when, and if, I saw it.


Our visit to the school was timed just right for a super sale.  I have been working on a kitchen gallery wall, and no respectable kitchen gallery wall is complete without the all important touch of copper.


I couldn’t resist the lidded copper pan and mold.  Grand total: $10 for both.


That ladies and gentlemen is a copper bargain of the very best kind.

PM-corbel Dear Santa…

The method to my retail madness is simple- pop into shops, boutiques, markets and retail outlets not available in the retail deficient corner of the world I call home.

The Haul~


A familiar sign became a beacon of biscuits and cornbread in the South Louisiana night.

Cracker-Barrel-signIt was a biscuit and cornbread kind of evening. 

I planned our next trip the Southern life fantastic on the drive home. November can’t get here soon enough.

Love your style!

For The Love Of New Orleans Architectural Styles

A mighty wind may blow, howl, scream and threaten destruction, but never underestimate the resolve of a city whose beauty and soul is rooted in its centuries-old history – a city seemingly built to entice and enchant the eye as well as the heart of those who admire and appreciate this architectural landmark called New Orleans.

New Orleans architectural styles fascinate me more and more with each and every visit to the Crescent City.  With a flair for finery reminiscent of the 18th century French and Spanish influence from which it came, New Orleans architectural elements are without a doubt some of the most notable, emulated and coveted features in architectural and interior design today.


Beginning with an iconic favorite, the iconic gas lamp is synonymous with New Orleans architectural style.  Authentically crafted in antiqued copper, the Bevolo French Quarter lamp is one the most recognizable architectural elements lighting the streets, sidewalks, storefronts and entryways throughout the French Quarter and Garden District.  Cementing its role as a prominent New Orleans architectural element, Bevolo Gas and Electric Lights began in the French Quarter in 1945.  The design vision and expert craftsmanship of Andrew Bevolo Sr. together with the tales of renowned architect A. Hays Town resulted in a brilliant design execution.  The French Quarter gas lamp is quintessential New Orleans and an architectural element that commands attention to detail.

Lantern_in_courtyard._May_1936._-_The_Cabildo,_711_Chartres_Street,_New_Orleans,_Orleans_Parish,_LA_HABS_LA,36-NEWOR,4-13.tifNew Orleans’ historic landmarks The Cabildo ~ May 1936


Columns, ornate wrought-iron laced designs and historic balconies rule the New Orleans architectural elements royal court.  These sublime features wrap the city in intricate detail so historically ingrained and so hauntingly associated with the French and Spanish style architectural history of New Orleans.

“New Orleans makes it possible to go to Europe without ever leaving the United States.”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

808px-LePretre_Mansion_Orleans_St_Pharmacy_1958Gardette-LaPrete House (The Sultan’s Palace)

columnEmerald Coast Gallery

768px-JosephineStRevivalhouse30Nov07GateDoor1Early 19th Century Greek Revival

Thoughts of what once was and what could be again dance the dance of possibility in the minds of restorers, the hands of architects, the boards of designers and the hearts of the New Orleans devoted.  Purveyors of architectural grandeur understand and infinitely appreciate the fine point of architectural perfection in an imperfect state.

columns-garden-districtCorinthian Columns

Age is a visitor from time that comes to the New Orleans architectural styles party often as an uninvited guest, but one embraced for its weathered and worn wonder with awed appreciation nonetheless.

verdigrisHouse Beautiful

Victorian-turretVictorian Turret

Exposed brick walls epitomize traditional 19th century New Orleans architecture.  If these walls could talk, what stories they could tell!

exposed-brick-wall-New-OrleansNew Orleans Local

The word on the streets of New Orleans is revered as an art form.  Dating back over 100 years, encaustic tiles were used throughout the city of New Orleans to identify street names.


Numerous buildings and streets of The French Quarter display the painted and embossed encaustic tiles as a historic form of identification of the old Spanish colonial street names.


Opulent crystal chandeliers are synonymous with the finery that is New Orleans’ antiquities.  Ornate moldings, ceiling medallions, elliptical archways and decorative trimmings denote the architectural element hallmarks of the city’s Greek Revival homes.

new-orleans-house-proud-interiorsPhotos by Sara Essex Bradley 
From House Proud: Unique Home Design/Louisiana by Valorie Hart

Dating back to the 1850s, the ornamental wrought and cast iron balconies, fences, galleries and gates of the Vieux Carré stand tall as the prominent architectural element most associated with the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans.


 Pairing these two design elements together is a bespoke design element demonstrated throughout the Crescent City.


Elaborate in design and characteristic of the French Quarter, ornamental ironwork frames a large portion of the landmarks and homes of New Orleans.

feather-bracketsfeather brackets

The New Orleans Shotgun house possesses an exterior charm as unique as the feather, scroll and gingerbread architectural elements for which they are known.  A shotgun house is elongated in length and narrow in width with rooms flowing one into another.  Modeled in Eastlake, Neoclassical Revival and Italianate styles, the shotgun houses throughout the City of New Orleans were built with lot size constraints in mind.  Form follows function applies here.

shotgun-house-New-OrleansNew Orleans Real Estate, Today and Yesterday

Distinctive color combinations and Victorian gingerbread or lacy brackets characterize the front façade of the New Orleans’ shotgun house.


Shuttered doors and windows continue to be a prominent fixture among the classic New Orleans architectural element scene.  Adopting and adapting exteriors to mirror the customary French architectural design element of louvered shutters on all windows caught on and remains one of the most instantly recognizable traits of New Orleans design.  Shuttered doors and windows were strictly a utilitarian feature with a three fold purpose early on- privacy, protection from wind and sun and to control ventilation.  The climate of New Orleans is not one that is conducive to complete comfort in the spring and summer months.  Shuttered doors and windows remain a characteristic feature of French Quarter buildings, restaurants and hotels today.  I have opened many a window and French door and pulled many a pair of shutters my way over the years to block the noise from the streets of the French Quarter.

1344483687_3141cc90bc_oBosque House Courtyard

An architectural enigma of sorts in a city so well know for public displays, the New Orleans’ courtyard is viewed as an architectural feat of patio splendor.  The New Orleans courtyard is an intimate walled garden usually tucked away from street view- a hidden and shaded Shangri-La.  Flowing fountains, lush plants and fragrant tropicals line the walls of the courtyard providing a tranquil place for residents, tourists and locals alike to ensconced themselves in privacy.  This is my idea of The Big Easy.

1345410562_62deda1dac_bAngel In Fountain – Le Petit Theatre

New Orleans’ native-born son, the incomparable Louis Armstrong, croons the question “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?”  The influence of the New Orleans architectural element in today’s interiors and exteriors is undeniable.   Gorgeous copper, antique New Orleans bricks, ornamental iron, ceiling medallions, ornate chandeliers and shutters drive my interior design and decorating choices.  I guess I do know what it means to love the architectural styles of New Orleans.

 Love your style!

Are You Ready For Some Tailgating Ideas and Recipes?

Happy days and tailgating times are here again!  The return of high school, college and NFL football is reason enough to shout “now I am just so happy.” Downton Abbey and American football know a thing or two about Masterpiece seasons and true fan followings.  A good show with an exciting plot and the chance of a surprise ending captivates viewers and keeps them wanting more. This exact rationale hooks the football loyal and keeps the home team crowd wanting for more season to season.  The football nation is gearing up for another season of Friday night lights, scoreboard Saturdays and NFL Sundays.


Welcome to another season of football and the tailgating reasons we love it so.  I reference the pride of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and our forever favorites, the LSU Tigers, in this post because it is the home state favorite.  I invite you to use the name of your favorite team(s) where applicable.


Cue the band for we are calling Baton Rouge! We’ve got the eye of the Tiger and the need for some pre-game tailgating.  Gathering with several thousand of your closest football fan friends to roast, toast, grill and gab before the game has become an event almost as exciting as the game itself.

Time-honored traditions are serious pre-game business, and the sight of LSU fans lining the streets in a sea of purple and gold to view, cheer and get the pre-game party roaring as The Golden Band from Tigerland marches down Victory Hill to Tiger Stadium feeds the soul and ups the Tiger tempo.


You didn’t hear this from me, but Dave the Builder has been known to partake in a little opposing team trash talk all in the name of good-natured football fan fun.


From a casual gathering round the grill to a pull out all the stops pre-game soiree, tailgating is a right of passage for students, alumni and devoted fans. Planning these ultimate fan meet and greets is part of the game day experience, a social event that counts as the prime occasion for decoristas to seize the design and decorating opportunity to show’em what cha got!  And you thought the only competition on game day was on the field.  Inspiration is everywhere, and I am certainly impressed and inspired by some of the tablescapes I see on any given home game day. These people bring their tablescape A-game, and the result is an absolute tailgating tablescape work of art.  My tailgating tablescape ideas and recipes have long been planned, and the grill is cleaned and ready to be fired up like a capacity crowd in Death Valley on a Saturday night.

LSU-stadiumElectrifying!  1130 The Tiger

It’s just not tailgating until the Geaux Tigers playlist is turned to roar!

You can’t go wrong with a tailgating tablescape decked out in team colors. Fabric remnants make great table runners, napkins and tablecloths. Selecting neutral colors for foundation pieces puts a tablescape color scheme under no go team colors obligation.  Football weather means fall, and decorating with pine cones, pumpkins, vines, branches, gourds and flowers indigenous to your conference zone makes things seasonally festive.  How’s this for a fall tailgating centerpiece arrangement!

tailgating-centerpieceThe Grove at Ole Miss – Au Courant Floral Creation


Floral rings wrapped in burlap or grosgrain ribbon, floral moss (giving a nod to the bayou) or team inspired duct tape make great custom candle rings.  Bargain bins, dollar stores and end of season clearance sales can be tailgating tabletop treasure troves.  Give me a L!  Give me a S!  Give me a U!  What’s that spell?  Festive centerpiece accent!  Seasonal flowers, natural or spray painted branches, magnolia leaves or seasonal stems make for affordable and impressive wreaths and centerpieces.  Give the attic or the old storage closet a once over for football themed oldies but goodies to put to decorating use.  This DIY wreath is an inexpensive idea for a game day decoration.

football-wreathTurnstyle Vogue

Paper lanterns and string lights bring lighted lagniappe to your tailgating space. Remember, easy is the first rule of tailgating transport and clean up. I love items with multi uses, and the 5 gallon team bucket from Home Depot qualifies as a tailgating must have.  This go team go handy dandy tailgating find makes the perfect tabletop and food wares tote, beverage tub, centerpiece container or trash receptacle.

Food, Glorious Tailgating Food!

This is how we tiger fan and fare at our Bayou Broil, Bake and Baste!

tailgating ideas and recipesSlow Cooker Ribs

Crawfish-DipCrawfish Dip With Fried Bow Tie Pasta

andouille-hush-puppiesAndouille Hush Puppies

Kentucky-butter-cakeThe Kentucky Butter Cake I baked from this recipe is a crowd favorite!  

Who says a tailgate celebration can only be held at the stadium?  Tailgating knows no boundaries- it is a kick on the home sweet home field too!  The coffee table conference is game day buffet central enjoyed by many.  When you can’t be at the game live and in person you can still be in the game with an at home tailgating spread.  No lines, no crowds, no parking issues, no problem. Tailgating at home does have its advantages.


I hope these tailgating ideas and recipes come in handy for your tailgating good times.  Happy tailgating, may your team be the pride of their division, and Go Team Go aka Geaux Tigers!

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Finds and Treasures Currently Catching My Eye

Finds and treasures currently catching my eye for the August gotta have it list include all things house that make a home goodies in appetizing, modern, polished and pumpkin time is right around the corner style.  First up in this month’s round up is a set of appetizer plates with a sense of style and a sense of humor.


ED by Ellen

Memories lay the ground work for a collectible fascination to take root.  My frog fascination began in the summer of 1974 when I landed the coveted lead role in the local community theater production of Fairy Frog Superstar.  The play was pure G-rated fun, a take off on Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother.  The frog thing stuck, and I’ve been an avid collector of frog themed objects ever since. Metals are trending with a vengeance for fall 2015, and this brass finished frog object from West Elm is one handsome hopper.


The mixing of traditional, vintage and/or antiques with modern pieces remains on trend and in style.  Contrast is good, visual impact the desired decorating effect, and creating a unique and impressive focal point is the point.  I am inspired by the INSPIRE Q Canali Sleek Modern Accent Chair.


Crabtree & Evelyn Rosewater Hand Therapy smells as good as it feels and heals. Perfect treatment for project weary hands.


Thank You in any language translates well.   Modeled after antique enameled European signage, this Merci Word Play porcelain wall art says thank you in ooh la la fashion.


Howard Feed-N-Wax is the Tina Turner of wood polishes.  Simply the best.


Who’s looking forward to getting their fall baking, cooking and seasoning on? The Staub Ceramic Pumpkin Cocotte from Williams-Sonoma is making it very hard for me not to be in a fall-pumpkin-cinnamon state of mind.


Speaking of seasonal recipes, may I suggest Louisiana De Mer: Seasonal Seafood Recipes for your cookbook collection.  This definitive collections of recipes for seafood lovers features 160 pages of beautiful photography, recipes from celebrated Louisiana chefs and restaurants, New Orleans classics- including po-boys and dozens of Cajun and Creole cooking tips.


Now we’re cooking!

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