Thursday, December 22, 2016

Creamy Parmesan Dip


Yesterday I showed you the festive decorations for my recent Miss Manners Gingerbread Christmas Party. Today I'm giving you the recipe for my Creamy Parmesan Dip.

This dip is so simple you probably already have the ingredients on hand. It goes great with a veggie tray, but it would be good on salty potato chips, too!

Creamy Parmesan Dip

1 cup mayo
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (the kind in the green bottle)
2 teaspoons Lawry's seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley

Mix well and refrigerate overnight, if possible, to allow flavors to develop. I served this dip with broccoli, carrots and cherry tomatoes.

The girls (and the moms!) loved this dip!

Another look at my dining room tablescape.

Tomorrow I'll share the recipe for the cheddar thumbprint cookies with raspberry jam. You can see them in the top picture. See you then!

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Miss Manners Gingerbread Christmas Party

I recently hosted a Christmas party for my Miss Manners girls. "Gingerbread" was my theme. Above you see my dining room table. The light is much better in this room!

This is a picture of the kitchen table. Less light, but I actually like the fact that the table is a little smaller. It "fills up" more nicely than the larger one in the dining room. Below I'll walk you through the steps I took to build my tablescapes, but first, let me show you something...

This, my friends, is the basis of a Dollar Tree Christmas party! I LOVE Dollar Tree when I'm planning a party. This is about $30 worth of party supplies, although I ended up not using all of it. I have it in my car to return after the holidays. Yes, you can return things to Dollar Tree. Just hold on to your receipt.

I began with my white linen tablecloth.

Next I added a burlap runner. I have lots of colors of burlap that I use for runners. I made this particular runner for this past Easter and also used it for Thanksgiving last month. 

I folded a red and tan checked runner in half and placed it down the middle so the brown burlap would show underneath.

Confession time - I had bought several yards of this fabric MANY years ago intending to make the kids matching pajamas for Christmas. Never happened. But it reminded me of Christmas and gingerbread men, so I made it into several runners. I can always go back and cut it up into napkins or something else.

I have a couple of cookie jars from my collection of Johnson Brothers "Friendly Village" that worked great. They remind me a little of gingerbread houses.

And tucked under the branches of my little Charlie Brown Christmas trees, they were the perfect place to hide the control box for the string of mini lights!

I already had the trees as well as the mini gingerbread ornaments. I just added the string of mini lights from Dollar Tree.

Red paper plates from Dollar Tree serve as chargers.

Then I layered on my clear glass luncheon plates.

My recycled Starbucks jars were perfect, as usual!

I purchased these little individual tin cupcake stands awhile back and was waiting for the perfect time to use them. I like the way they add a little darkness and breakup the reds and browns.

I found the gingerbread treat bags at Dollar Tree (12 for $1!) and filled them with candy canes, Christmas pencils and cute little erasers. I tied them with twine and added green jingle bells also from Dollar Tree.

Guess where I found the cookie cutters? You guessed it. I bought four bags of them, so I got 24 for $4!

I added candy canes and scattered them all down the table.

We really didn't need flatware, but I picked up a package of green plastic cutlery at Dollar Tree to add a little color.


I made each young lady her own gingerbread house using supplies from Stampin' Up. This took a little time, but was so worth it. Aren't they precious?

Red straws from Dollar Tree and my homemade cupcakes rounded out each place setting.

Even the cute cupcake liners came from Dollar Tree. I like to bake in one liner and then set it in a second after icing them. Just makes it look prettier to me!

Another view of the place settings.

I bought the tissue garland at Dollar Tree but then got tired of opening them! After hanging this red one, I pulled out the green wreath that I made for St. Patrick's Day even though it never made it into the pictures! Gingerbread men are scattered on the windows of the china cabinet.

Red and green tissue paper garlands and a string of gingerbread men decorate my grandmother's antique mirror. 

The young ladies had a wonderful time! We talked about the importance of giving versus receiving, and we made plans for the rest of our Miss Manners year! Then, they headed out into the brutally cold wind and weather to play until time to go!

I love having these young ladies in my home! Christmas is such a wonderful time to entertain!

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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Monday, October 31, 2016

Easy Dollar Tree Halloween Tablescape

I'm still waiting for Dollar Tree to call and offer to be my official blog sponsor! You'd think word would have gotten back to them about how much I shop there! Well, there's always a chance, right? 

Today I'm sharing with you a simple and inexpensive tablesetting that mainly features items I've purchased over the years at Dollar Tree.

It's a very traditional Halloween black and orange theme with a few fun pops of color. Of course I began with my white linen tablecloth. It's the perfect base to make everything else stand out.

I placed a burlap runner edged in black down the middle of the table. I wanted my white tablecloth to serve as a base, but I didn't want it to be too stark.  Scattered baby pumpkins and votives anchor it.

I used my everyday white dinner plates ("White Satin" by Nikko) as a charger, then layered it with orange stoneware dinner plates from Dollar Tree. You don't need a whole set of these. Just the dinner or salad plates for a bright focal point. I think I got them last year, but I've seen them recently, too.

Spiders from Dollar Tree (they have these every year) are always welcome on my Halloween table!

The black and white accent plate is called "Garden Gateway" by Corelle. I found these on clearance at my local Walmart last year for $6 a place setting. Yes, please!

I added a coffee cup to the stem glass for a little added interest. The black mugs and bowls are also from Dollar Tree several years back.

I love these little white daisies. I buy them from a local flower market in Montgomery whenever I'm having a party. I can get two huge bunches (maybe 50 stems?) for about $8, and they last FOREVER! At least two weeks if you change the water and snip the stems a couple of times. 

TIP - Leave the stems on cut flowers as long as you can so you can trim them as needed to keep them fresh. If you start too short, they won't be long enough to stand upright. I strip all the leaves off before putting them in cool water. Leaves in the water rot quickly and cause the water to become yucky and stink, not to mention that it makes the flowers die sooner. Keep the water clean by changing every few days and they'll last a lot longer, really giving you your money's worth.

The black metal votive holders are also from Dollar Tree. I got these earlier this year to use for something else, but I have still seen some there lately. They also have them in white.

These cute stems came from Dollar Tree this year. They have these for just about every season. Just a little fun extra, and the kids, especially, love to drink from a "fancy" glass!

I made these napkins several years ago. The novelty cotton print came from Hobby Lobby.

The flatware pattern is "Margate" by Pfaltzgraff. This is the flatware my parents bought me when I moved into my first apartment 26 years ago! I still love it and try to pick up more pieces on eBay when I can.

I love these placemats. The natural materials go with everything, and the black trim just kicks it up a notch. Can't remember where I got them, but I'm glad I did. I use them all the time. And so far, they've not been stained to where I couldn't clean them off with a damp cloth.

There you have it! My easy and inexpensive Dollar Tree Halloween tablescape. It just took a little "shopping" my own stuff to find the perfect items for this fun table. Many of them will show up again throughout the year (and even next Halloween!) but in very different settings. That's what's so fun about decorating're only limited by your own imagination!


I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Rustic Chicken Pot Pie

I am so excited! It's finally Fall! Well, technically, it's Fall, but it IS Alabama, so we're still in the low 90's by afternoon. But the mornings are getting cooler, and it's pleasant after dark. I'll take it!

I love this time of year for lots of reasons, but near the top of the list is comforting soups and casseroles. Today I'm sharing a recipe that's kind of in the rustic chicken pot pie.

Missy's Rustic Chicken Pot Pies
serves 4

2 large boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 medium onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 ear of fresh corn, kernels removed
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 "can" of milk
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
red pepper flakes to taste
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
2 cloves freshly chopped garlic
6 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons flour
puff pastry or refrigerated pie crusts

Dice all your veggies and set aside.

Melt two tablespoons butter and one tablespoon EVOO in a large skillet.

Season chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.

Add chicken to pan and spread.

Saute until chicken has a little color and is mostly done. Remove to a platter.

Add two more tablespoons of butter and one more tablespoon of EVOO.

Add onions, celery and carrots. Saute over medium until tender.

Meanwhile, remove rosemary and thyme from stems and finely mince.

Combine frozen peas, corn, fresh garlic, rosemary and thyme.

Cook veggies until carrots are tender and onions are translucent. 

Add corn mixture.

Mix well.

Add last two tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons of flour.

Stir until butter is melted and flour is coating veggies. Cook off raw flour for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly.

Add cream of chicken soup and then use can to measure out and add milk.

Stir until mixed well and bring to a low simmer to thicken.

Add chicken. Turn off heat.

Spray crocks (or casserole dish) with cooking spray.

Fill crocks with chicken mixture.

Use something round to cut out pie crusts.

Place inside the crocks.

Be sure to use a knife to cut slits for air to escape during cooking. Bake at 375 degrees until crust is brown and bubbly.

I cooked up the remaining pie crust scraps.

They're great for dipping!

I served this with pan roasted Brussels Sprouts.

This so beats a cheap frozen pot pie!

Gerald dumped his out so it would cool a little more quickly. Isn't that pretty? And it is soooooo yummy! Try this hearty meal one night this week!

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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