Season’s Greetings! I love that traditional greeting, and it seems a most befitting introduction to these Christmas images in seasonal splendor post. Andy Williams serenades “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” as I live and holiday, and by gosh, by golly it most certainly is.
The sight and sound of traditional holiday colors, songs, decorations and displays delight, and these images of Christmas rich in traditional trimmings are a few of my favorite things.
As the holiday pace picks up, I remind myself it will come and go like the blink of an eye. I make sure to fill the house with Christmas music, the slow cooker with scents of the season, and Dave the Builder’s Christmas cookie jar full of whatever cake mix cookie combination I come up with this week. Most of all, I am making sure not to lose sight of the true beauty of and reason for the season. That definitely brings to mind and eye images of Christmas in seasonal splendor.
Don’t forget the host! Hit the jackpot with a game night themed gift for the host.
“Seasons” Greetings! I love the scent and the idea of a rosemary Christmas tree. I would always use one at the antique shop during the holidays for the visual and aroma effect. One of my best clients looked forward to holiday open house and what I called the annual Hopefully Classic Rosemary Rub.
What’s the Hopefully Classic Rosemary Rub you ask?
Gently rub the rosemary leaves with both hands for holiday good luck and health, and the fragrance from the tree stays with you- a holiday bonus. A Christmas tree shaped rosemary tree is festive function at its aromatic best.
In these hustling and bustling holiday times, taking a teatime out to relax with a cup of tea, author a handwritten note of greetings or thanks to a friend or client, or to enjoy the scent of a favorite candle in a session of aroma therapy is holiday highly suggested.
The key to a great hostess gift is one that reflects a sense of style and ‘with you in mind’ thoughtfulness.
Home bar styling ideas for a chic cocktail station go stylishly beyond a portable card table or kitchen counter space. The home bar serves up more than just cocktails when the spirits, wine, bar and glassware and beverage accouterments is displayed on a styled cart, cabinet, accent table, bookshelf, inside an antique armoire or atop a mid-century modern credenza.
Styling a home bar works off the same principle applied to styling a coffee table. X marks the center spot- the prime location for a medium or low height object placement. The “outer” areas balance the method with graduated heights to continue the flow, theme and visual engagement.
Now for a little housekeeping and the disclosure portion of this post:
As it in life and disclosure policy compliance with FTC rules, honesty is the best policy. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of the product links I have an affiliate relationship with and make a purchase from the retailer, I receive a commission from the sale. To read the disclosure policy in full (fun, fun) please read my disclosure policy.
Before many of us became smarter and healthier and the laws of the land changed, the ash tray was part of the cocktail bar landscape. An Art Deco ash tray repurposed as a bar spoon holder makes a great conversation piece.
Holiday shopping season 2016 is in full on attention shoppers swing, and I am as guilty as the next savvy consumer who appreciates a fantastic deal. Since Places In The Home is all about the design and decorating show and tell, I thought an overview of the black Friday cyber Monday finds I snagged appropriate.
Am I the only one who is totally confused about what day of the week it is? My Black Friday shopping excursion began Wednesday afternoon, and continued into the wee hours of Thanksgiving Thursday morning. No sooner had I carved the bird, than the Cyber Monday sales were live and beckoning to me to get in on the savings. Spending a good deal (ha!) of time shopping online proved fruitful, but it also was the culprit in me kinda- sorta losing all track of time.
With all the black Friday cyber Monday finds excitement this deck the halls decorista may need a cocktail. How is it no one ever seems to lose track of cocktail time? Hmm.
See how I seized a design and decorating show and tell opportunity to share a pic of the self-serve cocktail bar set up for Thanksgiving.
I shared with you all a post or two ago that I love to give and receive the gift of home.
Throw a stylish kate spade cutting board my way with signature pops of color fun and it’s all good from there.
Laundry, shmaundry. I purchased several of these to use as gift baskets. A fantastic price coupled with the potential for presentation wow factor is a Christmas gift home run in the making.
Feast your eyes upon the newest addition to the kitchen in Dave the Builder’s man cave.
Price persuaded me to add this number to the shopping cart. It may or may not translate to ooh la la lovely in person, but for the price I could not pass it up.
Holiday dishes, baked delights and delectable appetizers make an impressive show when served or photographed on a nice cutting board. This cutting board trio will come in holiday entertaining and staging handy.
A long standing fascination with vintage or in the style of glass ornaments and hot air balloons came together with the purchase of this glass ornament. Both will be nice deck the halls additions to the French themed decorations soon to adorn the grapevine Christmas tree and dining room sideboard.
Do you black Friday cyber Monday finds shop? What holiday deals and steals did you find?
Holiday kitchen accessories that make you go gotta have it is what’s cookin’ for the holiday decorating season.
I am the kind of decorista whose love of all things house that make a home does not take a break over the holidays. In other words, I like what I like, and the gift of home and holiday kitchen accessories is the gift that keeps on giving, cooking and decorating. Black Friday kitchen accessories deals are kitchen kicking as we speak, type, read and source. How do I know this? As luck would have it, appliance crisis has hit Places In The Home over the last two weeks.
New washing machine.
Oven element burned out.
Dryer motor died.
The microwave, refusing to be left out of the loop, took great pains in causing Dave the Builder great pain this morning when it refused to cook, defrost or coffee cooperate.
You bet your sweet bibby I’m looking for Black Friday deals!
Murphy’s Law showed up and zapped the s&*! out of the holiday budget, putting a Whoa Nelly! on the deck the halls spending. No big budget, no big deal with these big on affordable style holiday kitchen accessories to decorate the holiday kitchen.
Spice up your holiday dishes and kitchen counter style with the Kryddig Wooden Spice Mill from Ikea.
Farmhouse style mixing bowls in hobnail white because farmhouse style is a favorite kitchen element all year long. I purchased two sets of these for bridal shower gifts, and the brides-to-be loved the farmhouse chic look of these bowls.
Just bought this mixer from Target this morning- taking advantage of today’s pre-Black Friday 20% off selected kitchen items sale. $31.99 is a super price for the KitchenAid 5-speed hand mixer. The big daddy of stand mixers is also on sale today, coming in after discount at $199.99. If you don’t get in on this sale today, Best Buy has a good deal going, too. Anyway you mix it, the price is Black Friday right, and the color is holiday happening! *** I do not receive one cent of compensation from Target or Best Buy for promoting these items or sales promos. I simply like to share a good deal with you all.***
Is it kitchen counter casual chic and holiday table finery? The Threshold™ Marble Salt and Pepper Shaker Set salt and pepper set is a decorative chameleon in the sense the set has a presence fit for formal-fabulous for casual chic.
Red and green wrapped Hershey’s Kiss candies signal sweet holiday candy tradition in our house. My suggestion of the Hershey’s Kiss Crystal Kiss Candy Dish as a holiday kitchen accessories counter decoration holder for sweetener packets, sugar in the raw, sea salt or Hershey’s Kisses is a crystal clear reminder of holiday tradition, and that works beautifully in the holiday kitchen.
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.
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.
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.
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.
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
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.
Look 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:
3 Tablespoons oil
2 cups buttermilk self -rising white corn meal mix
1 cup self-rising flour
½ Tablespoon baking powder
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
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.
Stylish Thanksgiving ideas for gathering, decorating, entertaining, setting and feasting abound. Home sweet home easily becomes home stylish home when thoughtful touches reflect your personal decorating style and grace your holiday home.
Serving pieces in neutral colors paired with traditional and new traditional serveware sets an elegant holiday dinner table.
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.”
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.
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
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.
Holiday hospitality guest room essentials in mi casa es su casa fashion fit perfectly into the ’tis the holiday company’s coming season. Creating a comfortable home away from home guest room for visiting family or friends begins with holiday hospitality guest room essentials.
Our Canadian snowbird arrived home last week, officially kicking off the There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays party. That suitcase is the ultimate holiday decoration.
“The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Friends and family, Mr. Emerson.
The goal at Places In The Home is for our guests to need or want for nothing. My darling Daddy welcomed guests with a heartfelt declaration “if we don’t have it, we will get it.” Welcoming words for sure, and that is the objective.
When Dave the Builder and I are overnight guests at the homes of friends and family, we consider the creature comforts furnished to be not only thoughtful, but guest room life savers. Let’s take a look at my list of guest room essentials.
Guest Room Essentials
Topping the list of guest room essentials is space!!! Dresser and bedside tabletops and drawers cleared and ready for guests to clutter set out and fill is always appreciated. To reduce the risk of scratching the top of a dresser or bedside table(s), simply place a plush bath towel or blanket on top of the furniture piece.
Closet space complete with extra clothes hangers and a bottle of wrinkle releaser – thank you!
Rack ’em up
I like to put out one or two luggage racks for our guests to utilize. Navigating the guest bedroom should not resemble an obstacle course.
Looking good, Billy Ray! Feeling good, Louis!
The snowbird loves our long standing holiday tradition of watching the movie Trading Places on Thanksgiving night (Black Friday Eve). I love the above line from the movie, and seize every opportunity to inject it into a conversation. His and Her looking good-feeling good baskets are a big hit with overnight guests.
Wrap these welcome kits up and tie them with a holiday bow for festive gifting fun.
Gift Your Guests with the Gift of Comfort and Hospitality
Festive faux or fresh flowers, a beside water carafe, extra linens,his and her slippers, charging station for devices, reading glasses, Kleenex, extra toilet paper, room and linen spray, a mini flashlight (to avoid things that go bump in the night like toes and kneecaps), extra blanket, a scented candle, note pad and pen and trinket tray on the bedside table and dresser top my holiday hospitality guest room essentials list.
The idea is to gift your guests with the gift of comfort and hospitality.
When I sourced this candle I could not help but think of the Benjamin Franklin quote my aunt from Florida modified, adopted and shares with us as she leaves. Guests, family, and fish begin to smell after three days. Thank goodness for holiday humor and scented candles.
Staying connected to the world wide web while connecting with friends and family is the business and leisure routine of daily life. Holiday sales, where to go, what to do, checking emails and social media, tracking Santa’s route- when you need to know you need the password. Frame a WiFi password printable for beside table display so guests can connect to your WiFi network.
Travel, especially holiday travel, can be a stressful event. Enter Noisli. The Noisli app is a little peace on earth and goodwill toward traveling men and women. Peaceful background noises promote a serene environment conducive to a relaxing sleep.
A Good Read
Place a few best sellers, shelter magazines and the Good Book around the guest room for guests to enjoy. A good read before bedtime can unwind even the tightest of clocks, and is proven reading often promotes a better night’s sleep.
Guest Room Service
A tray of hot cocoa and holiday cookies served in guest room service fashion is a holiday hospitality treat. Little details pamper and please, and this bedtime treat always goes over big with guests. Add a zing of seasonal deliciousness to hot cocoa with a dollop of flavored whipped topping, peppermint or cinnamon sticks, a splash of Kahlúa or a generous shot of Southern Comfort. That’s my kind of nightcap!