Summer Reading List 2020

Summer is prime curling up with a good book season; hence, the importance of what book(s) makes your summer reading list 2020.

books-set-by-green-staircaseHouse Beautiful

Reading evokes thought, enlightens the mind, enriches the soul, lifts the heart and takes one to treasured places and descriptive destinations in ways only the reader knows reading can.

Summer Reading List 2020

My Summer Reading List 2020 is a delectable literary picnic packed for the beach, lake, pool, porch, patio or bespoke indoor alcove.

beach-reading

Flickr

Up first on the list is I Was Told It Would Get Easier by Abbi Waxman.

I-was-told-it-would-get-easier

I Was Told It Would Get Easier – by Abbi Waxman 

Mother and daughter Jessica and Emily Burnstein have a college tour trip planned.  Jessica anticipates reconnecting with her “she’s not a little girl anymore” level with her daughter- a daughter in search of a way to become excited about her future.

Traveling together along the east coast, mother and daughter experience a shared journey in personal growth and special bonds along the way.

brunch-and-other-obligations-a-novel

Brunch and Other Obligations – by Suzanne Nugent

Brunch and Other Obligations by Suzanne Nugent details the fictional story of four ladies, friendship, loss, humor, understanding, and the things one learns over a standing monthly brunch date – a final request from one friend to three grieving frenemies who meet and master hard times, the art of patience, and the dynamics of the female friendship.

the-Jane-Austen-society-a-novel

The Jane Austen Society – by Natalie Jenner

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner charms the reader with a story set in the English village of Chawton post World War II, also known as the final home of novelist Jane Austen.

A group of socially different but like-minded people undertake a united and powerful effort to preserve the home of Jane Austen and her legacy.

A shared love of works, words, war, and wins comes together to create the Jane Austen Society.

Summer Solstice – by Nina Maclaughlin

Summer Solstice by Nina Maclaughlin details the details of summer and the elements and activities only summer knows.

Lakes, oceans, and every pond between.

Ripe red tomatoes ready for the summer salad or sandwich.

The taste of the first hot dog hot off the grill.

The scent and the seen of fresh cut grass.

Opened windows.

Fireflies.

Stargazing.

Nina MacLaughlin’s essay is a season of sun and fun insight into summer pasts and the ones that lie ahead.

you-had-me-at-hola

You Had Me at Hola – by Alexis Daria

You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria reads like a summer sexy soap opera, and the reader is all atwitter for it.

This romantic, sultry, and smart story is set in the drama-filled world of telenovelas.

Jasmine Lin Rodriguez is the soap opera darling returning to New York City after a breakup to star in a bilingual romantic comedy.  All is presumably well until a casting shake-up pairs her with telenovela heartthrob Ashton Suárez.

After a series of career killing circumstances, Ashton figures his new gig will give him the chance to win over American audiences and Hollywood casting agents.  The on-screen chemistry with Jasmine has got to be as hot as summer, but leave it to a less than memorable first impression to squash the hope of any heat between the two of them jumping off the screen.

In a career move to benefit both, Jasmine and Ashton mutually agree to rehearse together in private.  Private rehearsals lead to a private affair in true soap opera style.

The glare of the media spotlight is bright, and stands ready to discover and dish the dirt on these two telenovela stars.

Is it me, or is it getting hot in here?

the-vanishing-half-a-novel

The Vanishing Half – by Brit Bennett

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett promises to be a can’t put it down summer must read.

The story of the Vignes sisters, identical twins whose decision at age sixteen to runaway from the small, southern black community they called home, is a complex one.

From that time and moving forward, everything from their families, communities and racial identities is different.

One sister along with her black daughter lives in the very southern town at sixteen she tried to escape. The other sister secretly poses and passes for a white woman living with her white husband who knows nothing of her past.

Many miles and lies exist between them, and their fates continue to be intertwined.

Weaving together aspects of this family from generations past from the Deep South to California during the 1950s to the 1990s, this provocative story looks beyond issues of race to the lasting influence of the past and its influence on the personal decisions and wants, for reasons not easily recognized, people sometimes feel compelled to live as something or someone not of their origins.

Florida-Man-a-novel

Florida Man – by Tom Cooper

The Florida Man by Tom Cooper centers around a 1980 timeline and a middle-aged beach bun named Reed Crowe.

Reed is living the Florida life on fictional Emerald Island on ill-gotten gains.  When sink holes begin opening up on the Island, the seedy to the point of shambles motel and amusement park Reed owns as well as his secrets become endangered. In the midst of this predicament he puts into place his amateur spelunker skills. Soon he begins to uncover artifacts that connect the dots between his understanding and the island’s history as his family’s role as pioneering homesteaders.

Bringing more intrigue and to the mix is the company Reed has kept over the years.

Hector “Catface” Morales is a Cuban refugee, a trained assassin, and a crack-addicted Marielito who is after revenge on Reed for stealing his stash of drugs and then leaving him for dead (a detail unknown to Reed) in the wreckage of a plane crash in the Everglades decades ago.

Heidi Karavas, a globe-trekking art curator ex-wife, and Nina Arango, his current love, find their way into the state of confusion in the state of Florida.

enjoy-hydrangea

Show & Tell

Let the Summer Patio Good Times Begin

Chatting with Dave the Builder about how Memorial Day weekend traditionally signals let the summer patio good times begin and the opening back up of stores, shops, salons, restaurants, casinos, and the like brought up the question of just when to jump back into the swing of normal things.

Slow and safe is the approach I’m taking concerning out and about, but I’m all in on the season of living easy.

Toledo-Bend-pier

Granted, I would love to host a gathering of more than just me and Dave the Builder to usher in the summer season 2020, and we will eventually, but for now we’ll keep it summer, party of two.

summer patio good timesDaponte Outdoor Polyresin Wood Burning Fire Pit

Getting patio, deck, porch or pier summer ready kicks the salute to summer party in gear.

Washing away winter’s remnants always puts a fresh and clean spin on things, and makes way for the patio party part of the process most of us really look forward to- the decorating details.

Solar+Powered+Outdoor+Table+LampSolar Powered Outdoor Table Lamp

Outdoor decor items enhance the look of the season and emphasize chic summer style.

Solar Powered Outdoor Table LampSolar Powered Outdoor Table Lamp

I love the seagrass pendant lamp shade from IKEA.

Mama Places In The Home (better known as the proofreader) asked if this was a food cover.

Although not its intended use, reimagining an item to better suit your decorating and entertaining needs often creates a wow factor.

Seagrass is so summer chic, and the price (19.99) is so summer sweet.

TORARED Pendant lamp shade, seagrass, 14 "

TORARED Pendant lamp shade, seagrass, 14 “

Let there be light pairs with let the music play in these LED string lights with bluetooth speakers.

bright tunes string lights

 

bluetooth-string-lights-speakers1

Bright Tunes – LED String Lights with Four Bluetooth Speakers

A patio, deck, porch or pier becomes the perfect summer canvas for the art of decorating.

inexpensive-patio-chairsLiving Accent Brown Wicker Chat Chair

Ions ago when Dave and I had commercial and residential real estate dealings in Central Florida, we liked to stay at a particular hotel in the International Drive area of Orlando.

We mixed business with pleasure sitting poolside several afternoons, sipping cool beverages and soaking up the island vibe complete with tiki terrific motif.

Crank Tiki Market Umbrella in Straw

Crank Tiki Market Umbrella in Straw

Relaxing, summer stylish, and memorable- an excellent theme to work with.

Beachcomber Ceramic Tiki Mugs - 16 oz - Set of 4Beachcomber Ceramic Tiki Mugs – 16 oz – Set of 4

Fresh mint ice cubes add a zip of cool summer minty freshness to your favorite beverages.

Easy to make, delicious to taste, and talk about pretty in a pitcher or glass or both.

fresh mint ice cubes

Place gently rinsed fresh mint leaves into each individual square of the ice cube tray.

Fill  squares with water.

Pop tray into freezer until cubes are solid.

Enjoy these summer minty fresh ice cubes in your beverage of choice.

airstream-party-coolerAirstream Party Cooler

Airsteam is a classic, and this replica party cooler brings to mind travel trailer road trips to destinations of summer fun.

The Summer Airstream Party Cooler from Pottery Barn is sure to be a conversation starter and a summer good times investment piece.

Summer Patio Good Times Cookout Recipes

Click on the link for full recipe – Favorite Barbecued Chicken

I’ve carted this handwritten recipe on many a camping trip for the express purpose of satisfying the request of our camping crew.

baked-beans-recipe

I got this recipe for Sue and Gloria’s Baked Beans from an episode of Paula’s Home Cooking, and tried it out for the great Fourth of July camping trip of 2008.

Oven baking is not always camping convenient, but you know what is?

A 7 qt. slow cooker.

I put the recipe together while we’re drinking coffee in the morning, set the slow cooker on low for approximately 6-8 hours, and let the goodness come together for dinner.

Click on the link for full recipeGrilled Corn 4 Ways

Click on the link for full recipe- Bloomin’ Grilled Apples

Decorate.

Cook.

Plan.

Patio.

Summertime is the season of living easy and summer patio good times.

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Show & Tell

A Fetching Friday: Pinterest Pretties

Today’s Fetching Friday features images of currently catching my eye as I peruse around the boards and pins in search of Pinterest pretties.

fetching-definiton

Mountain chic in CashiersFlower Magazine- Pinterest

Being Covid-19 stay-at-home compliant is not without its moments of monotony.

Pinterest pretties

Masion & Travaux – Pinterest

Pinterest is not new to the social media platform world, and yet it continues to be a relevant source of fresh information.

The Sonata by Irving Ramsey Wiles, 1889

New York in the Spring – Pinterest

A picture is worth a thousand words.

marble-swirl-countertops-kitchen-islandRue Magazine- Pinterest

antique-dresser-drawer-frontTraditional Home – Pinterest

Pinterest is a form of escapism if only for the time it takes to enjoy a cup of coffee.

castellini-best-french-gardens-home-verandaVeranda- Pinterest

Christine-Flynn-Prince-Edward-Home-DominoDomino- Pinterest

Project, recipe, travel, decor and garden inspiration is gifted and gleaned through the world of captivating images.

FARRAGOZ gold artFARRAGOZ – Pinterest

farmhouse-Max-Rollitt

House & Garden Magazine UK – Pinterest

Bored turns to boards pinned and shared with several thousand fellow admirers of common Pinterest interest.

bedroom_02

Gracious Farmhouse -Pinterest

Lars-Bolander-auction-the-Scout-GuideThe Scout Guide – Pinterest

I hope this collection of Pinterest pretties puts a little lovely in your fetching Friday.

Enjoy your weekend and stay safe, dear friends.

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Show & Tell

Mother’s Day Celebration Ideas

With the closings, limitations, concerns, and interruptions in the normal Mother’s Day celebration ideas and retail shopping routine, Mother’s Day will be somewhat different this year, and that’s not a bad thing.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Curbside pick-up is a helpful, healthier, and convenient option (don’t spread the germs, but spread the tip love to our hero clerks) for these Mother’s Day celebration ideas gifts and ingredients.

Mother's Day celebration ideas

Going out to eat at a restaurant is out for this year, so we’re considering hosting a picnic complete with social distancing etiquette.

brown-vintiquewise-insulated-food-carriers

Better Homes & Gardens Hannalore Quilt1

Warmer afternoons and sunny May days invite a picnic to the list of Mother’s Day celebration ideas.

Besides, a picnic spread gives me the perfect gift idea.

quilt-roses

Better Homes & Gardens Hannalore Quilt

One can never have enough romantic floral quilts in soft tones and shades of pink and green reminiscent of an English garden.

The Better Homes & Gardens Hannalore Quilt from Walmart is picnic perfect for a Mother’s Day spread and a lovely from me to you picnic parting gift.

Plastic Dinner Plate - Room Essentials™

Plastic Dinner Plate – Room Essentials™

Included in our picnic basket is a set of plastic dinner plates and gingham check napkins.

pink-white-gingham-napkins

DII Pink & White Reversible Gingham Check Napkin Set, 4 Pieces

Melamine is outdoor entertaining friendly, and offers an array of color and pattern choices.

Lenox® Butterfly Meadow® Melamine Small Butterfly Trays (Set of 2)Lenox® Butterfly Meadow® Melamine Small Butterfly Trays (Set of 2)

hibiscus flower

Inspired by the hibiscus plant my brother recently gifted me, I’ll be serving  hibiscus peach tea with fresh lemon slices and fresh mint.

Pure Leaf Peach Hibiscus Herbal Tea

fresh-mint-lemons

If you’re looking for an impressive taste of spring dish for a Mother’s Day brunch, lunch, snack or supper, Strawberry Watermelon Chicken Salad served with a light homemade basil dressing from Sandy aka Reluctant Entertainer is a standout dish.

Click HERE to get her divine recipe.

Agnes Pie Dish By AnthropologieAgnes Pie Dish By Anthropologie

Bacon and Cheddar Grits Quiche is the best of Southern light fare, or at least our idea of it.

Bacon and Cheddar Grits Quiche

Ingredients

6 thick bacon slices

2 ¼ cups milk

2 tablespoons butter

½ cup uncooked stone-ground grits

2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

1 teaspoon black pepper, divided

2 ½ cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided

6 large eggs

2 ½ cups half-and-half

1 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup sliced green onions

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°.  Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon; drain and crumble.  Transfer 2 tsp. bacon drippings to a saucepan.

Bring drippings, milk, and butter to a boil over medium heat. Gradually whisk in grits, 1 tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper; cook, whisking constantly, 15 minutes or until very thick. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Stir in 1 cup cheese; let stand 10 minutes.  Stir in 1 egg; spread in a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until set and browned. Sprinkle remaining 1 ½ cups cheese over warm grits, spreading to edges.  Let stand 15 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 325°.  Combine half-and-half, cream, onions, and remaining 5 eggs, 1 tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper.  Pour over grits; sprinkle with crumbled bacon.  Place pan on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until lightly browned and just set. Let stand 20 minutes.  Run a sharp knife around edges of quiche; remove sides of pan.

-Southern Living

Mother's-Day-gardenia-bouquet

Dave the Builder presented me with a bouquet of garden gardenias picked on his late evening walk around the grounds of Places In The Home (the backyard).

His Mother’s Day celebration ideas gesture is a gift to the senses.

Vintage pitchers and crystal rose bowls full of fresh cut gardenias make a pretty sight, and the intoxicating scent floats throughout the entire house.

Majestic Gifts Inc. Hand Cut and Mouth Blown Crystal Rose Bowl

I am so pleased with the look created with this arrangement of peonies from the Kroger floral department (included in our pick-up grocery order) paired with a variety of fresh cuttings that I’m adding it to my Mother’s Day celebration ideas portfolio.

The cost is minimal, the effort simple, and the finished result a visual gift to the eye.

I’m excited to try this Rose and Lemon Layer Cake recipe from Victoria Magazine made with lemon curd, lemon zest, and rose water.

With the help of a pastry bag fitted with a large fluted tip, oodles of delicate rose frosting rosettes complete this dessert stunner.

rose and lemon cake

Creative Mother’s Day celebration ideas show love and gratefulness in ways beyond retail.

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Show & Tell

Decorative Home Bar Accessories

Decorative home bar accessories lend style to the mix – a visual garnish if you will.

Bette Davis “All About Eve” Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1950

When it comes to the home bar, the addition of decorative accoutrements serve to visually enhance the mix and the mingle area designed and designated for inspired gathering.

home-bar-styled-artSchoolhouse

On one of my pre Covid-19 treasure hunts I found this Canadian Mist Royal Canadian Mounted Police decanter.  Dave the Builder was in tow, and he echoed my enthusiasm about the find.

When the Canadian snowbird couple came to visit this past December, the decanter immediately caught their eye(s) and initiated conversation.

Decorative Home Bar Accessories

Winter months and cozy at home times make for cozy prime warm beverage drinking times- another great option for a home bar set up.

peppermint-hot-chocolate-Kritsada PanichgulPeppermint Hot Chocolate
Better Homes & Gardens – Photo by Kritsada Panichgul

bar-Carl and The Wolf1

Carl and The Wolf

When the thermometer hits 70°F and above in the South, it’s prime tea drinking time, y’all.

I’ll set up an iced tea cart quicker than you can say one lump or two.

peach-basil-iced-teaPeach-Basil Iced Tea
Southern Living – Photo: Iain Bagwell

Live and in person retail therapy has taken on a whole new look these days.

Ground shipping (a ton of stores and sites are offering free shipping) is available, and goodness knows we’ve gotten abnormally brilliant at this order online-pickup curbside service thing.

Another option is virtual window shopping.

Virtual window shopping paired with in the style sourcing keeps me in the retail loop and the decorating ideas flowing.

Not to mention it’s an excellent way to pass the copious amounts of time on your hands.

Time on your hands it better than germs on them, n’est-ce pas?

Designer Anthony Gianacakos Designer Anthony Gianacakos

Designer Anthony Gianacakos transforms an otherwise rinse and repeat rental kitchen into a style spot with painter’s tape, chalk paint, and style inspiration compliments of the color, the tile, and the graffiti traits of Lisbon, Portugal.

In many rental properties space is a luxury.

Design and decorating creativity steps in to save the day and the floor space by utilizing a wall shelf as a home bar.

The $$$ option.

Moroccan Blue Wooden Wall Shelf - Aged Blue

Moroccan Blue Wooden Wall Shelf – Aged Blue

The $$ option.

painted wall shelfRed Brick Shelf Wall Decor 

Wooden GazelleWooden Gazelle

Designer Anthony Gianacakos Designer Anthony Gianacakos

Feroz Faux Tiger Gold Rug-Loloi X Justina Blakeney CollectionFeroz Faux Tiger Gold Rug-Loloi X Justina Blakeney Collection

The $$ option.

Jonathan Adler Tiger Valet TrayJonathan Adler Tiger Valet Tray

The $ option.

gold tiger trinket tray

Boho Gold Tiger Trinket Tray

It’s a jungle out there.

Nathalie Lete Titania Dessert PlateNathalie Lete Titania Dessert Plate

Ardelia 20 Table LampArdelia Table Lamp

Giraffe Lamp with Linen Shade

Giraffe Lamp with Linen Shade

Sacripante GallerySacripante Gallery

Gold Monkey & LeafGold Monkey & Leaf

The Absinthe French Match Strike catches my eye for use as a holder for cocktail stirrers.

I love using pieces for unexpected purposes.

 

Absinthe French Match Strike

Absinthe French Match Strike

This porcelain milk pitcher (creamer) from H&M will make a super cute vessel for measuring shots, jiggers, rocks, and double pours.

blue plates H&M pitcherPorcelain Milk Pitcher

A standard single-mixer/shot/jigger pour is 1.5 ounces.

A standard rocks pour is 2 ounces.

A standard double pour is 3 ounces.

bar set upAtlanta Homes & Lifestyles

Gold Pagoda Ice Scoop 1Gold Pagoda Ice Scoop

James F Carter

James T. Carter – Architect

Fresh or faux, an arrangement of flowers in a whimsical vase takes a classic decorating combination in a fun direction.

faux peony bouquet

Vintage Artificial Peony Silk Flowers Bouquet

pink peonies

A and B Home Visage Cement Vase

A and B Home Visage Cement Vase

brockschmidt.coleman.llc.portfolio.interiors.living.bar

Brockschmidt & Coleman, LLC 

Pastel panache under the big top is a great a theme to work with.

colorful-crystal-glass-candy-dishFLYING BALLOON Embossed Colorful Crystal Glass Candy Box with Lid

bear on bike drink coasterBear on Bike Plastic Coated Coasters, Set of 6

cigar box tray

Flea Market Style Magazine Styling: @kinassauerstylePhoto: Edmund Barr Photography

DIY projects turn out some of the most unique items such as this cigar box serving tray.

Cut the lid to fit inside the bottom of the box; glue in place.

Spray box with sealant.

Drill holes and screw handles to box.

Attach adhesive bumper pads to underside.⠀

Water Tower Decorative ContainerWater Tower Decorative Container

An antique cabinet updated with DIY TLC and transformed into a statement piece such as this one featured by Domino adds such character to a space.

antique-piece-bar-Domino

Domino

Decmode Wood and Brass Tic Tac ToeDecmode Wood and Brass Tic Tac Toe

tic-tac-toe-bar-games-Lark-Photos

Domino

Be it cart, accent cabinet, table or countertop, decorative home bar accessories that catch the eye, start a conversation, and bring a hint of whimsy stock the well-appointed home bar hospitality station with distinctive style and personality.

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Show & Tell

Homemade Southern Biscuits

Southerners know the comfort found in a  warm, buttery, flaky pan of homemade Southern biscuits.

comfort food

noun

food that provides consolation or a feeling of well-being, typically any with a high sugar or other carbohydrate content and associated with childhood or home cooking.

Quarantine days into nights hum right along to the catchy tune “Wishin’ and Hopin'” cause bakin’ and cookin’ and eatin’ and eatin’ is how I’m filling the stay-at-home times, days, afternoons, nights, plates, and stomachs of my fellow quarantine loved ones.

Baking is a time-honored tradition steeped in essentiality, creativity, comfort, and love.

Add to that recipes and wisdoms handed down through the years and practice makes perfect the dashes and splashes of spices and seasonings secrets handed down from generation to generation, and now we’re speaking truth to taste, y’all.

homemade southern biscuitsFlickr

Hands down, the best Southern biscuits I ever tasted were those from Dave’s mother’s kitchen.

Her recipe included the biscuit basics:

Flour.

Cold milk.

Crisco.

The delicious was brought forth by how she made her biscuits, a skilled technique perfected from childhood.

Her mother died when she was eight years old, leaving the culinary duties to her and her four sisters.  The girls baked sixty-nine biscuits a day- three each for her daddy and four brothers, two each for the four girls, three meals a day, seven days a week.

Believe me, she had her biscuit making routine down pat.

Dave and I have tried many times to perfect her biscuit recipe, but never have had success in replicating it.

homemade southern biscuitFoodies Feed

Much to our delight, we have several respectable biscuit go-tos.

A local Chinese restaurant makes a fluffy flaky square-shaped mini biscuit that when paired with fresh honey is absolutely fantastic.

Kinda sorta like these.

Popeye’s biscuits (had these just today for breakfast) satisfy a Southern biscuit craving in true Louisiana c’est si bon fashion.

Cracker Barrel biscuits.

Oh yeah, we brake for biscuits.

All of the above biscuit options are distinctive and delectable in their own right, but are no match for the small bites of biscuit perfection set in the oven and upon the dining room tabletops of the Carriage House Restaurant located on the grounds of Stanton Hall in Natchez, Mississippi.

Carriage-House-Restaurant

Trip Advisor

Stanton_Hall,_Natchez,_MS

Stanton Hall – Natchez, Mississippi

Carriage-House-Natchez-biscuitsPhoto courtesy of Brittany of Hello, Honey.  Please do check out her blog post detailing a visit to Natchez and her very cool photos of Longwood and Arlington properties.  Here’s the link- Natchez, Mississippi

When in Natchez, lunch at the Carriage House Restaurant is a biscuit must.

Carriage House Lunch

A menu mixing of popular Southern fare classics and new-traditional dishes appeal to palate and plate.

Carriage-House-chicken Flickr

Fried chicken, rice and gravy, baby lima beans with ham, and fresh green beans please the patrons, but it’s the Carriage House biscuits that make a lasting impression.

Carriage-House-Biscuits

Flickr

Carriage House Biscuits

Ingredients

2  cups all-purpose flour

4  teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1  Tablespoon sugar

5  Tablespoons vegetable shortening

¼ to 1 cup cold milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 400˚F.  In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Cut the shortening in with 2 knives until the mixture resembles peas.  Stir in the milk ¼ cup at a time until you have sticky dough.

Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead as little as possible.  Roll lightly to a ¼ inch thickness.  Cut biscuits with a small (2-inch diameter) biscuit cutter or a clean, small open tomato paste can.

Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick baking spray or grease lightly with shortening.  Place the biscuits with edges not touching on the prepared pan. Brush tops with milk.  Bake at 400˚F until biscuits are puffed and slightly golden.  Remove immediately, split and butter while hot.

Chef Bingo Starr

Regina-Charboneau-biscuits

Chef Regina Charboneau

Southern hospitality and butter biscuits are the calling card of Chef Regina Charboneau aka Queen of Biscuits.

Regina's butter biscuits

Regina’s Kitchen

Regina's biscuits

Regina’s Butter Biscuits 

Ingredients

4  cups flour

¼ cup baking powder (Regina suggests using Calumet baking powder.)

¼  cup sugar

¾  pound margarine, salted

¼  pound butter, salted

1¾  cups real buttermilk, not low fat

Directions

Put flour, baking powder and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Turn the machine on low and blend the dry ingredients for 15 seconds.

Add the butter, margarine and buttermilk to flour mixture before turning mixer back on.  Turn mixer on medium and count to 10.  This goes very quickly; the key is to not overmix the dough.  There will be large chunks of margarine, the size of quarters, in the dough.

Scrape dough from the bowl onto a generously floured tea towel (or other floured work surface) and shape into a long, vertical rectangle about 2 inches thick.  The dough will seem rough and messy.  Using the edges of the towel, fold the lower part of the dough (about one third) toward the center, then fold the top portion down.  With a rolling pin, roll dough out to a 2-inch thickness.  Fold the two ends in again, lifting the edges of the towel to help move the dough.  Give dough a one-quarter turn, and roll it out again to a 2-inch thickness.  Continue folding, turning and rolling dough until it is smooth, with noticeable yellow ribbons of butter and margarine throughout.

Roll dough to a 1-½-inch thickness.  Using a 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut dough into rounds.  Punch cutter into dough cleanly, without twisting.  When refolding and rerolling the dough, gently stack it to retain the layers. Do not overwork.

Place biscuits on a baking sheet and freeze. Once they are frozen, transfer biscuits to plastic bags.  The unbaked biscuits can be frozen for 2 months.

To bake, heat oven to 350 degrees.  Place frozen biscuits in the cups of muffin tins, and let thaw in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.  Bake until golden brown, 23 to 25 minutes.  Makes two dozen large or three dozen small biscuits.

Regina Charboneau

No Places In The Home Southern fare blog post is complete without a biscuit recipe from Southern Living.

Angel biscuits made with butter and shortening- heavenly!

Ingredients

½ cup warm water (100°F to 110°F)

1 (¼-oz.) pkg. active dry yeast (2¼ tsp.)

1 teaspoon plus 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar, divided

5 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ cup cold salted butter, cubed

½ cup cold shortening, cubed

2 cups whole buttermilk

6 tablespoons salted butter, melted and divided

Directions

Stir together warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of the sugar in a small bowl. Let stand 5 minutes.

Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar in a large bowl; cut cold butter and cold shortening into flour mixture with a pastry blender or 2 forks until crumbly. Add yeast mixture and buttermilk to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; chill at least 2 hours or up to 5 days.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead 3 or 4 times. Gently roll into a 1⁄2-inch-thick circle, and fold in half; repeat. Gently roll to 1⁄2-inch thickness; cut with a 2-inch round cutter.  Reroll remaining scraps, and cut with cutter. Place rounds with sides touching in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. (If using a 12-inch skillet, place remaining biscuits in a 10-inch skillet or on a baking sheet.) Brush biscuits with 3 tablespoons of the melted butter.

Bake in preheated oven until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Brush with remaining 3 tablespoons melted butter, and serve.

Makes about 3½ dozen.

Southern Living

Mississippi-Current-CookbookMississippi Current Cookbook – by Regina Charboneau & Harriet Bell

Served with butter, jelly, preserves, gravy, or ribbon cane syrup, a batch of  homemade Southern biscuits may not be the healthiest part of a daily diet, but sure do body and soul good as a staple comfort food.

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Easter Dessert Presentation

The first holiday of the spring season is upon us, and I’m thinking Easter dessert presentation.

Even though we’re all in this together, Easter 2020 we will not be what most of us are used to, entertaining wise at least.

fresh-roses-cake-topper

Have you seen this Hosting with Kelly Clarkson for Wayfair commercial?

 

“You’re welcome.”

Love it!

Taking a cake from grocery store shelf, bakery display or freezer section to dessert table impressive is easy.

Loire Glass Round 7.75" Cake Stand, BlueLoire Glass Round 7.75″ Cake Stand, Blue

Boom, you too can be a chef with a pretty cake plate and garnish for the host or hostess with the most or mostess win.

knockout rose bush

The usual made from scratch Easter coconut cake ain’t happening this Easter 2020, but the one from the bakery at Kroger’s (delicious) will be decorated with a spring bouquet topper of knockout roses.

It is said we eat with our eyes first which translates pure and simple to the proven fact I know to be true.

Presentation is key, folks.

Easter dessert presentation

It seems my camera has decided it does not want to import photos to my computer for some driver-hardware-update reason only known to Windows 10, Nikon, and the evil computer gods.

There goes the photos of the blue hobnail cake stand I inherited from my grandmother’s collection and fresh rose petals I meticulously staged for this Easter dessert presentation post.

Loire Glass Square Cake Stand BlueLoire Glass Square 10″ Cake Stand, Blue

Another spring-Easter-Mother’s Day-summer entertaining (hope we can do lots of that this year) favorite is making rose petal ice cubes.

freezing-rose-petals1

So easy to make, and it takes your beverage presentation to the next level.

rose-petals-ice-cubes1

Dave the Builder brought home a dozen yard eggs the other day in various colors much to my Easter egg decorating and baking delight.

chickens-farm

fresh eggs

The idea here is to intermingle a half dozen farm to Easter table eggs with a half dozen decorative speckled multicolored eggs in the DIY Easter basket I made last Easter.

Easter dessert presentation

From fresh flowers to grandmothers cake stand, simple touches and visually impressive details come together to dress up your Easter dessert presentation.

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Little Updates For a Big Impact

Seeing that most of us are spending an inordinate amount of time at home these days, why not utilize a moment or two to refresh the places and spaces in your decorating repertoire with little updates for a big impact.

PHOTO MELANIE ACEVEDO STYLING OLGA NAIMAN

Southern Living – Photo by Melanie Acevedo – Styling by Olga Naiman

Rearranging furniture instantly gives the room a refreshed update.

Floating a sofa and/or accent chair(s) away from the wall opens up the room, creating the impression of a larger space.

Enlist the help of your fellow able bodied stay-at-home quarantiners to get the job done and give the room an updated look.

Little Updates For a Big Impact

Styling a coffee table with a sense of individual style is an easy decorating refresh to undertake.

Treasured keepsakes, fresh flowers or plant, a short stack of great reads and coffee table books, a vintage decorative box to house remotes, and a framed picture of a favorite something, somewhere or someone become coffee table conversation pieces.

Eclectic Home Photo Credit Sara Essex Bradley

Eclectic Home – Photo Credit Sara Essex Bradley

Art travels well from one room to another.

Kerry Spears InteriorsKerry Spears Interiors

Switching art pieces and wall decor from one wall to another or countertop, shelf, accent table or mantel is a visual game changer.

Dodson InteriorsPhoto Credit Julie Soefer

Dodson Interiors -Photo Credit Julie Soefer

A borrowed piece or pieces from another room falls into the category of take away from and add to.

It’s amazing how often this decorating trick works to the betterment of a space.

spot-chair-used-for-bedside-table

Julia Reed – One Kings Lane

Play a game of decorating I spy, the edit from within your home version.

That accent chest in the den or spot accent chair bedside table.

Bring a lamp from another room to the mix.

Flower magazine flowers in vase

Flower Magazine

While you do your part to be stay-at-home safe, why not consider a style-at-home little updates for a big impact project.

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