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.
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.
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.
Going out to eat at a restaurant is out for this year, so we’re considering hosting a picnic complete with social distancing etiquette.
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.
Inspired by the hibiscus plant my brother recently gifted me, I’ll be serving hibiscus peach tea with fresh lemon slices and fresh mint.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Creative Mother’s Day celebration ideas show love and gratefulness in ways beyond retail.
Selections were limited compared to today’s offerings, but did the trick.
A honeycomb decoration served as a centerpiece, a bendable scarecrow or warty witch a front door decoration, and two plastic jack-o’-lanterns lights to light the Halloween night and living room windows completed the look.
My mother showed a cake mix who was boss in the original Places In The Home test kitchen.
Her bag of tasty tricks included adding candy bar pieces, flavoring extracts, calorie rich whole milk, and food coloring combinations transformed a store bought cake mix into the taste of homemade.
There’s Halloween goodies magic in a bag of Milano cookies and white chocolate chips.
M’mm M’mm mummy cookies are easy to make with a bag or two of Milano cookies, white chocolate chips, sprinkles, or candy eyes.
Start by placing 2 cups of white chocolate chips and ½ teaspoon shortening in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 90 seconds. Stir to incorporate. Microwave in 30 second intervals until chocolate is fully melted.
For extra smooth chocolate, add another ½ teaspoon of shortening to the melted chocolate; stirring well to mix.
Test kitchen experiment with mint chocolate chips (not a favorite in the Places In The Home test kitchen) proves the times and ingredients accurate.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place Milano cookies on cookie sheet.
Spoon melted chocolate over the top half of each Milano cookie and allow to set.
Reheat the remaining chocolate for 10 seconds to melt. Carefully spoon melted chocolate into a resealable plastic bag. Zip or seal the bag and snip off the bottom corner off the bag.
Drizzle chocolate over each cookie to create the bandage look. Finish by adding candy eyes or sprinkles for the eyes to each cookie while chocolate is soft.
Vodka or other clear alcohol (you might need to add a dram or two for the baker!)
Black and silver luster dust
Prepare cookie doughs as directed. Use flour-coated circle cutters to cut out circles from sugar cookie dough, and use cocoa-coated cat cutters to cut out cats from black cocoa cookie dough. Bake as directed and let cool completely.
Use royal icing to decorate sugar cookies and attach cat cookies on top.
Mix a small amount of clear alcohol with silver luster dust and use a paint brush to paint small brushstrokes on the royal icing of the sugar cookies. Repeat with black luster dust to paint bats.
Clear jars, containers, and cansiters aren’t just for food storage. These versatile and affordable entertaining musts prove a clear winner to house and serve anything from utensils to candies to salads.
Clear jars filled with fresh flowers and/or greenery from the yard come in make a simple and lovely display.
Small groupings-stacks-bundles of fresh fruit or summer vegetables such as corn, tomatoes, peaches, cherries, blueberries, or grapes dressed up with ribbon or in their natural state serve a colorful bounty of fresh and sweet summer style.
Red, white, and/or blue fabric is my suggestion for a table runner. This works for dinner napkins, too.
I can’t sew a stitch, but I can work a hot iron and a roll of hem tape like nobody’s business.
Determine the width and length (add one inch to both the width and length), cut your fabric to desired size, fold over each side (fold in the corners to create a 45 degree angle), and either sew sides or apply hem table with iron.
With summer’s official arrival and the 4th of July coming up, happy summer times are here again, friends. Like the summer temps, summer food recipes are a hot topic of conversation.
I really look forward to picking, preparing, and plating traditional summer fare. I’ll put a new spin on an old favorite to spice the taste factor up a bit, but all in all I stay true to the original recipe.
Stir in chopped bell pepper, onion, Kosher salt, fine black pepper and you’ve got a sweet summer treat.
Peel ’em up and pass the sugar.
When I can’t make it out to the local growers, it’s to the farm to market produce section at the local grocery store I go. There’s plenty of summer food recipes out there with an ingredients list of seasonings ready to enhance the flavor quotient.
Today I’m shining the summer food recipes spotlight on traditional and new traditional favorites sure to please.
Classic Macaroni Salad
1½ cup (12 ounces) dry elbow macaroni
½ cup mayonnaise (I use Duke’s)
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
¼ cup milk
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon Kosher salt (or more to taste)
black pepper to taste
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, diced
¼ cup red onion, diced
1 whole green onion (green and white parts), sliced
1 cup whole kernel corn, drained
Cook the elbow macaroni in salted water according to directions on package. Drain cooked macaroni, rinse with cold water, and allow to completely cool.
Chop, slice, and dice the tomato, bell pepper, red onion, and green onion.
To prepare the dressing grab a medium mixing bowl. Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, milk, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir all together to incorporate and set aside.
Place macaroni in a large mixing bowl. Add the bell pepper, green onion, red onion, tomatoes, and corn.
Pour dressing over top and toss to evenly coat. Chill salad for at least 2 hours before serving.
Bread and butter pickles recipe from Recipe Girl. Click on over to the delicious Recipe Girl blog for the recipe details.
Layer tomatoes and onions in jar. Sprinkle the pepper and allspice into jar.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, honey, sea salt, and water to combine.
Pour vinegar-sugar-honey-sea salt-water mixture into jar covering the tomatoes and onions. Place lid on jar and seal tight. Give the jar a vigorous shake to incorporate the flavors and to thoroughly coat the tomatoes and onions.
Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
Firecrackers, chicken, and the summer soiree are part of the recipe for summer entertaining success.
Contrary to summer soiree belief, not everyone grills and barbecues.
Oppressive heat, inclement weather, building restrictions, personal taste preference- you get the idea.
If you’re not on board the grilling/barbecue train, this recipe for oven baked Firecracker Chicken from Jo Cooks has got your name written on it.
Who remembers cranking out homemade ice cream on a hot summer afternoon?
Dave the Builder and I both have done our fair share of cranking over the years of childhood. What complaints we had about having to crank were quickly diminished when the ice cream was ready.
When a good crop of peaches came in at the local orchard, my grandmother would peel and dice a bowl full of fresh peaches to add to the ice cream.
Talk about good!
In the spirit of summer, good memories, and great summer food recipes, this recipe for fresh peach ice cream from Southern Living is deliciously appropriate.
Fresh Peach Ice Cream
5 large egg yolks
½ cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12-oz.) can evaporated milk
2 cups mashed peaches
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a large heavy saucepan. Whisk in the milks. Cook over medium-low, stirring constantly, 15 minutes or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Stir in the peaches and vanilla.
Cool completely (about 30 minutes); cover and chill at least 4 hours or up to 8 hours.
Pour the custard into the freezer container of a 2 ½ to 3-quart electric ice-cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. (Instructions and times may vary.) Transfer to a freezer-safe container; freeze 2 hours or until firm.
Summer simple suggestions in chic summer style for bedecking interior and exterior settings, entertaining, dishing up summer fare, and outdoor living it up easy peasy is greatly appreciated.
Southern, Northern, Eastern or Western Living- regardless of geographical location, summer living and loving decoristas have got the memo, and it’s all about keeping it summer simple and summer simple suggestions.
It’s kinda sorta tough to kick back, relax and savor the season when you notice heavy equipment sitting on the sidewalk in front of your house and you, the homeowner, have no earthly idea what it is doing there.
Seems our city water department has a little curb appeal water line improvement of their own in mind.
This does not make my summer simple suggestions list.
Progress isn’t always a pretty process, and the installation of a new water lines makes it difficult to achieve summer curb appeal style, but we forge on.
We trimmed the unattractive dead sago palm fronds and within a week new green growth emerged.
Here’s a trick in my simple summer suggestions repertoire for getting your Sago palm(s) summer curb appeal ready.
Sago Palm Care
Outdoor planted Sago palm care involves watering the plant regularly until it takes root.
I like the look and the drought tolerant aspect of the mature Sago palm.
Fertilize at least once a month beginning in spring to aid in active growth.
Covering the base of the plant with mulch will help to protect the roots from cold snaps.
In inclement winter weather or fall freeze, we cover the exposed Sago palm with a heavy duty extra large black trash bag to protect it.
If it’s not one thing, it’s this.
Cue The Rolling Stones, cause it’s shattered.
The lawn and garden guy’s super duper heavy duty weed eater took aim at a loose piece of exposed aggregate, obliterating the exterior glass panel of the patio French garden door.
One simply can’t patio pretty with ugly on parade.
Thank goodness for the friend who frequents our summer patio soirees that just so happens to own a local glass company.
It’s time once again to get your summer soiree on, and the ideas for fun in the sun or evening tiki torch, lantern or string light are flowing.
We’re working with what we’ve got in the front of the house, and if you are like us, you’re getting your porch, patio and deck hangin’ game plan down pat.
Comfortable, fun, relaxing, refreshing, simple, tasty and stylish as chic- this is my number one summer simple suggestions formula for a festive summer gathering.
If Ina Uses It
I read with interest an article listing the pros and cons of a charcoal grill.
The pros outnumber the cons, and personal preference trumps all however, the one pro of the charcoal grill worth mentioning is worth mentioning. Grilling on a charcoal grill ups the flavor quotient and gives great grilled flavor.
3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra for brushing the grill
1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
3 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces grated Gruyere
12 small Brioche buns
4 ounces baby arugula
3 medium tomatoes, sliced in 1/8-inch-thick rounds
2 small red onions, sliced in 1/8-inch-thick rounds
Ketchup, for serving
Build a charcoal fire or heat a gas grill.
Place the ground beef in a large bowl and add the mustard, olive oil, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix gently with a fork to combine, taking care not to compress the ingredients. Shape the meat into 12 (2-inch) patties of equal size and thickness.
When the grill is medium-hot, brush the grill grate with oil to keep the sliders from sticking. Place the sliders on the grill and cook for 4 minutes. Turn the sliders over with a spatula and cook for another 4 to 6 minutes, until medium-rare, or cook longer if you prefer the sliders more well done.
For the last 2 minutes of cooking time, place ½-ounce Gruyere on the top of each burger and close the grill lid. Remove the sliders to a platter and cover with foil.
Slice the buns in half crosswise and toast the halves cut side down on the grill.
Divide the baby arugula among the 12 bottom buns, top each with a slider, and finish with a slice of tomato and red onion. Cover with the top of the bun and serve hot with ketchup.
Chippy, rusty, and charming- this vintage Hershey’s Milk Chocolate metal tray would make a great serving tray or decorative accent for the s’mores table.
Vintage ironstone and in the style of vintage table linens set a summer chic table.
A quick trip to an antique shop, garage sale or Goodwill store usually results in an ironstone serving piece find or two.
Vintage picnic wares and baskets bring memories to the table, and can be used for the actual purpose of food and beverage and/or as decorative accents.
Dave the Builder and I bought a vintage picnic table from a fellow antiques dealer with the express purpose of featuring it in a summer display at Hopefully Classic.
I used a vintage picnic basket filled with hydrangeas for a super easy, super cute centerpiece.
You can make quite the keep it summer simple statement with a collection of glass jars or melamine vegetable bowl and whatever flowers, greenery or veggies are growing fresh in your yard or garden.
No garden or flowers on the homestead?
Check out the floral department and produce section of your favorite grocery store.
Mini watermelons on a natural table runner of Pittosporum paired with Lemon Lime Nandina is summer simple and summer chic.
Ears of fresh corn with the husks slightly peeled back in order to expose the corn kernels grouped in threes and tied with woven ribbon of your color, pattern and texture choice or metallic twisted rope is another fresh centerpiece idea.
Bring the sugar, corn syrup, and ¼ cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and cool. Puree the plums, cooled syrup, and lime juice in two batches, using a blender, until smooth. Stir the plum puree and yogurt together in a large mixing bowl.
Pour the mixture into popsicle molds, leaving about ½ inch at the top, as the mixture will expand when it freezes. Follow popsicle mold manufacturer’s instructions and freeze until solid, about 4 hours.
“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
– Edgar Degas
Give Peas A Chance Garden Marker
The framed 1960’s supermarket ad for Del Monte Sweet Peas captures the essence of Sasha’s flea-market chic home decor, and fancifully pays homage to Pop Art Icon Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup I: Green Pea.
The aforementioned School Days peas and the I remember it as if it were yesterday red tomato-green lettuce leaves- navy blue background Ann Page Mayonnaise label serves memory and a craving for a spring Easter comfort food classic.
This comfort food recipe for pea salad is uncomplicated, styled for a classic taste, and quick to please.
I liken it to the creature comforts of home through art and interior design and memories of the walks down the aisles of A & P hand in hand with my darling Mother.
I’ve learned so much from both.
English Pea Salad
2 large hard-boiled eggs
1 yellow bell pepper
2 oz. Cheddar cheese
½ c. mayonnaise
½ c. sour cream
3 tbsp. dried basil
2 tbsp. finely chopped red onion
2 tsp. chopped pimiento
1 tsp. Apple-Cider Vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. soul-food seasoning or seasoned salt
1 tsp. granulated garlic
½ tsp. Freshly ground pepper
2 dash Hot sauce
60 oz. early peas (such as Le Sueur)
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the peas, mixing well. Stir in the peas. Refrigerate the salad for at least 10 hours or up to overnight. Serve at room temperature.
With spring and Easter right around the corner, I thought I would include this two peas in a pod recipe for Sweet Pea and Ricotta Tart from Good Housekeeping.
Sweet Pea and Ricotta Tart
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
5 Tablespoons cold butter
3 Tablespoons trans-fat free vegetable shortening
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium leek, chopped
2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) peas
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¾ cup ricotta
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
¼ cup grated Pecorino cheese
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
½ cup microsprouts or microgreens
Make the Crust:
In the bowl of a food processor, blend flour and salt. Add butter and shortening and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Sprinkle in 3 to 5 tablespoons ice water, one tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition, until large, moist crumbs just begin to form. Shape dough into disk; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes or overnight. (If chilled overnight, let dough stand 30 minutes at room temperature before rolling.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll pie crust into a 12″ circle and fit into a 9″ pie plate. Trim excess dough, leaving 1″ overhang; tuck overhang under and crimp edges.
Line dough with large sheet of parchment paper or foil; fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake 15 minutes or until dough is set. Remove parchment with weights and bake until crust is golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes more. Remove from oven; let cool completely on wire rack.
In a 10″ skillet, heat oil on medium heat. Add leek and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook until leek is tender, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Add peas and cover; cook until tender, stirring once halfway through, 3 to 5 minutes. Let mixture cool, then stir in lemon juice.
In a medium bowl, stir ricotta, cream cheese, pecorino, lemon zest, and 1/8 teaspoon salt until well-combined. Spread in cooled pie shell. Top with cooled pea mixture and garnish with microsprouts.