Like the relaxing powers of Calgon, this updated and improved post takes me away on a visual travel adventure through stylish place settings and tabletop accessories of themed tablescapes. Themed tablescapes set the table for a visual experience of table escape destination presentation.
More people answer travel when asked what they would do if they won the lottery. As my hopes for a lottery windfall and the endless travel funds it would bring eludes me, I rely on themed tablescapes table escapes to destinations of sea, ooh la la land, and fabulous Far East to take me away.
Destination decorating creates a passport to dining adventures, where the dining table top becomes an inspired canvas. Stylish and affordable ideas run the gamut from elegant to casual, translating to themed tablescapes that visually take your fellow “travelers” on a journey to enchanted places. The first seating of this three part themed tablescapes series is one inspired by the captivating beauty of the sea.
The rule of kiss (keep is seaside simple) applies to centerpiece ideas. Taper candles weaved throughout a piece of decorative coral placed atop a cluster of oyster shells is a guaranteed centerpiece showstopper.
I could spend an entire afternoon on a dollar store run searching for affordable tabletop accessories that set a place for chic at the table.
Bulk shells, accent gems, decorative sand and river rocks make a decorative splash as anchor embellishments. For a small amount of moolah you can create an impressive tabletop focal point or decorative companion piece to build your centerpiece upon.
An easy DIY project, coastal themed fabric paired with pearl trim, a decorative starfish, pendant or pin make great custom tablecloth, napkin and napkin ring options. A seamstress I am not, but I can work a package of hem tape and a hot iron like nobody’s business. Ornamental starfish tied with natural or coastal color rich raffia results in a tailored napkin ring. Decorative pearl trim looped through a natural crystal pendant from Hobby Lobby results in a stylish napkin ring and “souvenir” to take home.
I like to use aquarium decor because it is significantly less expensive than full size versions and the smaller sizes work to an individual place setting advantage. Aquarium coral or dry rock makes a highly decorative and inexpensive place card or individual menu holders-easels.
From place setting to ambiance, destination themed tablescapes travel well. Part II of Themed Tablescapes Table Escapes focuses on the très chic ooh la la factor of the We’ll Always Have Paris tablescape.
Home decor accessories, accents and furnishings inspiration is everywhere, and now it is on the sidebar. Allow me to introduce you to a new year, new feature, Shop the Sidebar. Sourcing home decor accessories, accents, and furnishings is part of the all things house that make a home process. Interest in and inquires about accessories, accents and furnishings as seen on Places In The Home is always welcome, and I’m especially pleased when a piece or color I use in a client consultation or moodboard stirs interior design and decorating interest. Always the interior design and decorating show and tell, it is my pleasure to assist and suggest.
Shop the Sidebar features distinctive accessories and accents of regional and seasonal interest that catch my eye and hopefully appeal to and please the most discerning tastes.
Traditional home furnishings fill my design and decorating portfolio, new traditional styles are worthy of attention, and antiques remain a classic furnishings choice near and dear to my heart.
You will notice the pieces and accessories featured throughout the Shop the Sidebar column reflect my personal style and taste– a stick with what you love and design and decorate accordingly presentation. If you see a piece that makes your gotta have it list, click on the image for product information.
Classic furnishings and design accents complement eye and space. We are big fans of TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar, and being the accent chair set design reviewer that I am, I was in my height of glory watching Giant last week. The scenic wallpaper in the foyer of the home of Leslie’s (Elizabeth Taylor) parent’s home is the star of the scene, embodying the design features of Classic Revival style homes. (Try as I may I could not find a photo of the scene that does my point justice). Granted, some patterns and images correlate with the more formal aspect of traditional style, but not in all cases. The Etched Arcadia Mural in Grey Motif from Anthropologie typifies what I have come to know; understated is on par with elegance when contrast is the intended design element.
I just got off the phone with Mr. and Mrs. Canadian snowbird who are moving into a new house this spring. Spring things to come furnishings, colors, fixtures and finery is the current topic of source conversation and conversion (Mom, is the price U.S. or Canadian?). I suggested a Shop the Sidebar session for decor inspiration.
It is everywhere.
Shop the Sidebar contains affiliate links. I receive a commission when a purchase is made of a piece I have suggested. The compensation received has never, and will never, influence the content, topics, retail suggestions or posts made on this blog. You do not pay any more for an item purchased via my links. Commission earned from affiliates allows me to provide free content on the blog, stay connected to the internet, and keep the strong Louisiana coffee brewing.
Preparing or purchasing Valentine’s Day sweets for the sweet is a scrumptious tradition. Sweet logic and delicious justification make Cupid’s case for whipping up one of these Valentine’s Day desserts delectably dedicated to the one you love.
Sharing is caring.
Food is love.
Calories don’t count on Valentine’s Day.
Let’s Valentine’s Day Desserts!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Valentine’s Hearts
¼ cup unsalted butter-softened
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1 cup mini chocolate chip morsels
For Dipping and Decoration:
10. oz semi sweet baking chocolate
1.5 oz white chocolate for garnish
A few drops of pink or red food colors
Beat softened butter and brown sugar until fully combined, then add vanilla and peanut butter and beat until fluffy. Add flour and sweetened condensed milk and beat until combined. Fold in the mini chocolate chip morsels.
Press the mixture into an 8 x 8 inch baking dish lined with parchment paper and set in the fridge to chill.
Pull off the parchment paper to lift the dough from the baking dish. Using heart shaped cookie cutter cut off the truffles and place them on a tray lined with parchment paper. Set in the freezer while melting chocolate.
Using a fork dip the truffles into melted chocolate ( one at the time), slightly tap the fork against the side of the bowl to trim the excess chocolate and place the truffle back on the parchment paper. Set them back in the fridge to firm.
Melt white chocolate, stir in a few drops of red food color, transfer into a small bag, cut the corner off and pipe melted chocolate on top of the truffles.
recipe Cherry or Chocolate Frosting (see recipe below)
recipe Chocolate-Dipped Cherries (see recipe below) (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 6×2-inch round cake pans or springform pans. Mix 1 teaspoon each flour and cocoa powder; dust pans. Set pans aside. In bowl combine ¾ cup flour, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside. In large bowl with electric mixer beat butter on medium to high for 30 seconds. Add sugar; beat until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Beat in sour cream and flour mixture. Pour batter in pans; spread evenly.
Bake 22 to 26 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched and edges begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool on rack.
Use serrated knife to horizontally cut cakes in half to make 4 layers total. Place bottom layer on plate; spread with 2/3 cup frosting. Repeat with layers. Place top layer on cake. Heap remaining frosting, swirling in peaks. Refrigerate.
To serve, top with Chocolate-Dipped Cherries. Serves 8.
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 8 ounce carton sour cream
1 cup whipping cream (do not use ultra-pasteurized whipping cream)
2 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
In a chilled large mixing bowl combine powdered sugar, sour cream, whipping cream, and cherry juice. Beat with the chilled beaters of an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 3 to 5 minutes or until fluffy.
16 maraschino cherries with stems
½ cup semisweet chocolate pieces
1 teaspoon shortening
Drain cherries; pat dry with paper towels. In small microwave-safe bowl combine semisweet chocolate pieces and shortening. Cook on 50 percent power (medium) 1½ to 2 minutes or until melted, stirring once. Dip cherries in chocolate; place on waxed paper until set. Store, covered, up to 24 hours.
The red velvet cupcake, molten lava cakes or cheesecake!
Red Velvet Molten Lava Cakes from Spache the Spatula look absolutely divine. Click on the link to check out this and other tempting recipes from Spache the Spatula. Red Velvet Molten Lava Cakes
Red Velvet Cheesecake
1 pound milk chocolate, chopped
½ cup butter
19 ounce package chocolate wafer cookies (40 to 45 cookies)
1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
1 cup slivered almonds
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup butter, melted
48 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
18 ounce carton dairy sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup buttermilk
11 ounce bottle red food coloring (2 Tbsp.)
2 egg yolks
Chocolate leaves (optional)
Powdered sugar (optional)
Unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
Fresh raspberries and/or small whole strawberries(optional)
In a medium saucepan, melt chocolate and ½ cup butter over low heat; transfer to a bowl and cool completely.
Place wafer cookies, chocolate pieces, almonds and brown sugar in a large food processor. Cover and process until finely ground. Add the ½ cup melted butter; cover and process until well combined. Transfer crumbs to a 10×3-inch springform pan with a removable bottom. Press crumbs onto bottom and up the sides of the pan, leaving a ½-inch space at the top of the pan. Set aside.
In a very large mixing bowl, beat the cooled chocolate mixture, cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, buttermilk and red food coloring with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until combined. Add 4 eggs and 2 egg yolks all at once. Beat on low speed just until combined.
Pour filling into crumb-crust lined springform pan. Place springform pan in a shallow baking pan on the oven rack. Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 1 hour, or until 2 inches of outside edge appear set when shaken gently.
Remove springform pan from baking pan. Cool cheesecake in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Use a small metal spatula to loosen cheesecake from sides of pan. Cool 30 minutes more. Remove sides of pan. Cool for 1 hour; cover and chill at least 4 hours.
To serve, use a paper doily to decoratively sift powdered sugar and cocoa powder on the top, if you like. Garnish the center with chocolate leaves and fresh raspberries, if you like. Clean knife between each cut. Makes 20 servings.
Bake and chill up to 24 hours. Garnish just before serving.
Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, ¾ teaspoon salt and the baking powder in a medium bowl. Beat the sugar and butter in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg
and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low; beat in the flour mixture until just combined. Cover the dough and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out the dough until 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surface, then cut out cookies with a 2-inch heart-shaped cutter.
Arrange about 1 inch apart on the prepared pans. Bake, switching the pans halfway through, until the cookies are slightly firm, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes on the pans, then transfer to racks to cool completely.
Make the filling:
Combine the white chocolate, remaining ½ teaspoon vanilla and
pinch of salt in a large bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a saucepan, then pour over the white chocolate. Stir until smooth, then refrigerate until cold, 25 minutes. Beat with a mixer until creamy. Sandwich the white chocolate mixture between the cookies.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough on cookie sheet or counter work surface.
Using soft brush, brush over sheet with melted butter. Lightly sprinkle entire sheet with sugar. Top with another sheet. Butter, sprinkle and repeat until 6 sheets thick. Repeat to create another 6 sheets stack. Using a pizza cutter or large knife, make ten vertical slices and one horizontal slice down the middle of each stack.
Lightly spray a 12 cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line each muffin cup with 1 of the phyllo pieces at a time, covering sides and bottom to form a cup. Repeat making 12 cups.
Using a microplane, shave dark chocolate over each cup to dust.
Bake in a preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until light golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven and immediately place desired amount of chocolate chips in each cup allowing to melt.
Top melted chocolate chips with strawberry slices, drizzled honey and whipped topping. Dust whip topping clouds with cinnamon.
Valentine’s Heart Candy Box Cake from The Cake Blog. Trust me, this recipe is well worth the time, the effort, and the click on the link to check it out. Valentine’s Heart Candy Box Cake
Easy as the top ingredient!
Chocolate Sweetheart Cupcakes
2 sticks butter
1 ½ cup sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup heavy cream
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 oz. white chocolate
Heat oven to 350ºF. Line 12 regular-size (2 1⁄2-in. diam) muffin cups with paper liners. Beat butter, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl with mixer on low speed 1 minute or until well blended. Add eggs; beat 2 minutes or until fluffy. Beat in milk and vanilla (batter may look curdled), then flour just until blended.
Spoon scant 1⁄4 cup batter into each muffin cup, filling each about 2⁄3 full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until a wooden pick inserted in centers of cupcakes comes out clean.
Cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes before removing from pan to rack. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with remaining batter. Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting and decorating. Each recipe makes 24 cupcakes.
For the ganache:
Gently heat ¾ cup heavy cream over medium heat, then pour over 8 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute; stir until melted and smooth. Evenly spoon ganache on top of 12 large or 24 small chocolate cupcakes. Let set for 30 minutes.
For the lettering:
Microwave 3 ounces white chocolate on 50% power in 20-second intervals until melted and smooth. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1.5 tip, then get creative!
Welcome to our Mardi Gras ~ Bienvenue à notre Mardi Gras! Mardi Gras is all around Louisiana and our sister states, but this invitation is to a Central Louisiana Mardi Gras Mambo Places In The Home style.
Festivities to beat the jazz band fill Central Louisiana afternoons, evenings and weekends with something Mardi Gras to do.
Krewe parades roll uptown, downtown, and all along the Red River replete with throws of colored beads and doubloons, go- cups (we do love a geaux-cup), and trinkets raining down to revelers below satisfying the traditional Carnival call of “Throw me something, Mister!”
What’s a go-cup (that’s geaux cup in Louisiana speak) you may ask?
Not to-go cup. Go-cup.
a cup used to hold any beverage that one may take with them while they are out and about
Louisiana is a festival-celebration-events driven state. Celebrating is in our DNA. Humidity is always in the air, ergo the need for liquid refreshment. When out and about you can guarantee (ga-ron-tee as Justin Wilson said) it is with beverage of choice in hand.
Throw me something, Mister!
Mardi Gras in Central Louisiana emphasizes the spirit of family, friend and neighbor.
We eat, drink, decorate, dance, promenade, stroll and second line on Garden District streets of brick during the Carnival season. This is our taste of Mardi Gras world from the Twelfth Night (feast of Epiphany) to Fat Tuesday- a living it up in Central Louisiana c’est si bon celebration.
Gray skies never rain on our parade. We know how to adapt and simply take the party indoors.
Decorating for Mardi Gras gives me an opportunity to put my French themed decor accessories and accents on Mardi Gras parade.
The purple, green and gold colors and oval design of a traditional King Cake serves up dining table centerpiece idea.
Taking inventory of items around the house and those plucked from a fantastic end-of-season clearance sale last year, I spied my Sportsman’s Paradise-Gulf of Mexico-coastal collection of shells, figurines and the like. Winter is making me blue, so any and all opportunities to inject a bit of spring into my step and/or decor are welcome. Shells and pelicans equal spring into summer perfect.
The curated side of my brain and the decorating side of my brain merged to come up with a fabulous pairing. There’s a baby in a King Cake, and there’s a Louisiana pelican in this shell of a Carnival inspired candy dish.
Our days of letting the good times roll in New Orleans ceased in favor of the local lagniappe Central Louisiana offers. These days, home is where the Mardi Gras celebration is.
Eclectic elegance is alive and well done in Brooke and Julian Metcalfe’s Oxfordshire home. Funky disco balls, a model of the Titanic and animal head wall decor juxtaposed with grand millwork and signature Florence Broadhurst wallpaper brilliantly work the room.
A Super Bowl get-together is a tradition for the football loyal, and Super Bowl get-together ideas buzz is all around. What team will you be rooting for to become victorious as Super Bowl LII champions? Our beloved Saints were so close, but ultimately, defeat was to be. I do not have a dog, Saint, Eagle or Patriot in the fight, so the focus of my Super Bowl get-together ideas is on what drives the party down the field to score a win for the movers, shakers and Super Bowl get-together partakers.
Halftime show extravaganzas.
Commercials of advertising gold.
The commercials have been known to be more must see tv than the game itself. Super Bowl commercials make for interesting post-game observations and Monday morning quarterback conversations. Country Living Magazine features The 50 Best Super Bowl Commercials of All Time. Can you guess my favorite?
I’ve selected Super Bowl get-together ideas and items with comfort zone wow factor in mind.
Sleek style teams with full, rich sound with the VIZIO sound bar. Enhance the entire Super Bowl experience by boosting the audio experience. Comfortable seating options are essential game watching components and score big points in the comfort zone.
Comfort is the name of the game at the buffet, coffee, and decorative side table as well. The America’s Plate-by-Plate Game Day Food Lineup infographic shows popular Game Day recipes pulled from Betty Crocker, Pillsbury and Tablespoon websites. Favorite game day foods in each state shows just how much Super Bowl game watchers love their game day snacks. Sliders, tater tot casserole, cowboy caviar, stuffed mushrooms, root beer chicken and butter cake bars deliciously represent our sister states coast to coast, region to region. Crab au Gratin represents Louisiana as the favorite game day dish. Chicken and sausage gumbo rules the game day buffet table at our house, but I don’t believe anyone would object to a tray full of crocks housing individual servings of Crab au Gratin.
C’est si bon!
Crabmeat Au Gratin
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
2 teaspoons ZATARAIN’S® Creole Seasoning
Hot pepper sauce, to taste
1 pound lump crabmeat
Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt butter in medium saucepan on medium-low heat. Add onion and parsley; cook and stir 3 minutes or until onion is tender. Add flour; cook and stir until lightly browned. Slowly stir in milk; continue cooking until mixture begins to thicken.
Stir in ½ cup of the cheese, Creole Seasoning and hot pepper sauce. Reduce heat to low; cook and stir until cheese is melted. Gently stir in crabmeat. Pour mixture into greased 1-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until mixture begins to bubble around the edges. Makes 3 cups.
Play off team colors when selecting tableware, serving pieces, and home decor accessories to accent Super Bowl spirit.
Super Bowl get-together ideas and decorations need not be an exercise in difficulty or expense.
For a centerpiece, grab a vase or jar, fill it with vase fillers in team colors, add mascot appropriate embellishments, and let the centerpiece games begin. Fill in the blanks with cuttings from nature’s arts and crafts store (your yard) or floral gatherings from the floral department at the local market.
Scrapbook paper makes great placemats. There’s a time and a place for china, silver, quality linens and crystal glassware. A Super Bowl get-together is not one of those times, in my humble opinion.
You can’t go wrong with items that avoid team colors or logos. Granted, some Super Bowl get-together items are one-time use winners, but I like to buy some items that easily fit with other occasions and themes.
Finger foods and disposable wares go with sporting events and concessions, so why not incorporate that theme into your menu and party decor?
I love this look! These black and white striped popcorn boxes make a good call for serving popcorn, nuts, and party mixes. Paper scoop cups with newspaper design add an extra! extra! snack all about it! fun to the food festivities.
Pulled pork sandwiches. Fried catfish and hush puppies. Slow-cooker Southern barbecue chicken. Creole French fries. Ice cold beverages with just the right amount of fizz. Mardi Gras King Cake. What time do we eat?
The Places In The Home Valentine’s Day gift suggestions for him and her guide features objects of affection with love and style in mind. Presenting your loved one with just the right gift or gifts on Valentine’s Day sets the tone for a grand and stylish celebration of love.
This With Love and Style In Mind Valentine’s Day Gift Suggestions For Him and Her gift guide is packed with a variety of options. Options are good, and these pull back Cupid’s arrow and take aim at the heart of the Valentine’s Day matter.