Friday, January 5, 2018

Christmas "Cheer" Luncheon 2017

Jewell is a varsity cheerleader this year. She cheers for the Ezekiel Academy Knights. To say it has been a blessing to her would be an understatement. She has made friends with a wonderful group of young ladies. It was my honor to host the cheerleaders' Christmas party this year. I decided to make it an affair for the girls and their mamas, too! 

I wanted to do something besides traditional Santas and Christmas trees, and as you know, this red and black buffalo check print is EVERYWHERE this year. It was perfect for this party in particular, because Ezekiel's colors are red and black.

The moms sat in the kitchen, and the girls were in the dining room. I started both tables with my white linen tablecloths, then added a runner made of buffalo check with matching napkins. (I bought one VERY long piece of fabric and then cut my runners and napkins. That way, I got to use my 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby.)

I used my dark green Noritake "Sweet Swirl" iced tea stems in the kitchen, along with my wood-look chargers with pinecones embossed along the edges.

A birchbark-covered tri-sectioned box holds mason jars and tealights. Jewell gathered the pinecones for me early in the season, and I baked them at 250 degrees for about an hour to make sure they were critter-free!

The white dinner plates are "White Satin" by Nikko (my everyday pattern). The flatware is "Austen" by Yamazaki.

The dining room was set for seven (one young lady was out of town) and featured a few different components.

The red lanterns were last seen as part of Brack's 12th Birthday tablescape. The big bell jar has been used a couple of times, most recently in a cozy little seafood dinner for two Gerald and I had last summer.  

The dinner plates are the same as I used at the kitchen table, but the chargers were borrowed from my mother. They look like a woven leather.

The glasses are called "Stax" and are a vintage pattern by Libbey. The color is called smoke.

The flatware came from Target fifteen years ago. The pattern is "Abigail" by Hampton Silversmiths.

Everything is sitting on a piece of old barn wood. It came from my neighbor across the street. They are tearing down the old barn (only because it is unsafe!), and they are using a lot of it in their home as trim and even parts of the ceiling! Chuck cut me several pieces to use as runners. No distressing needed!

I placed some black river rocks in the bottom of the jar to hold the candle in place.

Tealights were scattered the length of the barn wood slab.

This picture shows a little of my "new" dining room! More on this in the coming days.

The girls were playing the "saran wrapped gift" game.

The end came down to Jewell and Emily Ann and let's just say, it got exciting!

We mamas exchanged gifts, too. Who doesn't love a little dirty Santa?

These are some sweet ladies!

I have grown to love them as much as their girls!

It's such a blessing to have good friends! This holiday season may have already drawn to a close, but you know me...I'm already thinking about next year!

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

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Dutch Baby...Cooking with Brack

Brack has had the cooking bug lately, so I've been trying to indulge him. We've made several things together, but at the rate we're going, we'll all weigh about 300 pounds soon. We were sitting on the couch together last night scrolling through Pinterest. He pinned a couple of desserts he wanted to make, then he said the craziest thing. He said, "Let's look through the recipes you've already pinned and see what we could make." 

Huh? Say what? You mean, actually go back and look at a board I've created and then, really make something? Humm. Interesting concept! I seem to treat Pinterest more as an inspiration board these days. Plus, there's the whole "Pinterest fail" thing. You know what I mean. 

But it did get me to thinking. I have scores of cookbooks that are perfectly good. I also have a box full of tried-and-true recipe cards. Gasp!! 

He wanted to make breakfast this morning for everyone since we are all still on vacation. (One of the many joys of homeschooling and working for a university!) I thought about what I had on hand and what everyone might like as a special treat. We came up with a Dutch Baby. 

What's a Dutch Baby? Well imagine a pancake and a crepe got married. That's about it! Above is what it looks like right out of the oven.

I've made these before when the kids were little. Usually I add fresh blueberries, but we had some gorgeous raspberries that needed to be used. It's really simple...

Dutch Baby

Add three tablespoons butter to a cast iron skillet and place in a cold oven. Preheat oven to 400. 

Meanwhile, to a blender, add 3 eggs, 3/4 cup of all purpose flour, one tablespoon plus one teaspoon of sugar, 3/4 cup of milk (that has been heated in the microwave for about 30 seconds), two teaspoons of vanilla and a pinch of salt. Blend until smooth.

Once oven is preheated, carefully remove skillet and swirl butter to cover the entire bottom. Slowly pour in the batter and return to the oven for 20-25 minutes or until set and golden brown.

We decided to make a homemade raspberry syrup to pour on top, so while the Dutch Baby was cooking, I added one pint of raspberries to a small pot. I then added 1/4 cup sugar and a tablespoon of water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. I let it simmer for about ten minutes then used a potato masher to crush the fruit. It stayed on low until we were ready to eat it.

This recipe probably serves eight...but we just cut it in quarters! I added the raspberry syrup then sprinkled confectioner's sugar on top. I garnished it with a few fresh raspberries we held back. 

Actually, I should say WE made this. Brack did it all! I talked him through it, but it was all him! I'm so glad he's interested in cooking right now. I will encourage him as long as he is interested! It's a great skill to learn, but mainly, it's precious time with my baby.

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

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