Tuesday, December 1, 2015

What Does your Christmas Tree Say about You?

It's time to put up the Christmas tree again and, is it just me, or did those months roll around really quickly? It seems like only yesterday that I was planting seeds and waiting with great anticipation to see them sprout. 
As I was getting out the ornaments and other holiday tree embellishments, I was struck by how much the decorated tree has become such a representation of my life and interests. This made me wonder just what trees say about the people who decorate them.
 I am a lover of travel.
I'm a reader of mysteries and avid fan of Sherlock Holmes.
I'm a bit of an Anglophile.
A fan of mail art and decorative stamps, I also like Charles Dickens and “A Christmas Carol.”
I love music, used to be a brass player, and majored in music for a while.

I love the pomp and circumstance surrounding the English hunt.
A new addition last year, I had to pay homage to “Downton Abbey.”
The next time you are decorating your tree, stand back and take a good look. What does your tree say about you? Let me know in a comment below.
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Monday, November 30, 2015

King’s Arms Tavern Peanut Soup

In my youth, when I traveled, I would always come home loaded with various remembrances of my trip. It was always fun, and I still retain some of those items, fondly remembering each adventure every time I look at them. These days, with storage at a premium, and my interest in lugging big heavy bags a part of my past, I shop for more practical souvenirs. Because traveling is as much about sightseeing as it is about sampling the local cuisine, I tend to opt for local cookbooks, recipe postcards, and tea towels, so I considered my purchase of a souvenir tea towel that contained a recipe to be a bit of a double bonus.
The Kings Arms Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg is a fun, atmospheric, tasty place to dine. One of their specialties is peanut soup. I'd never had peanut soup prior to visiting here, and found the whole concept to be rather off putting, so, naturally, I ordered it. It was delicious! Now I'm not quite sure just how authentic to colonial days peanut butter is, but I refuse to be bothered by that because I really like this soup. With Thanksgiving now behind us, we are on the cusp of loads of holiday dinner parties and other such gatherings, so why not start off your lunch or dinner with a little bowl of this soup? Unique and enjoyable, I'm sure your guests will love it.

King’s Arms Tavern Peanut Soup

1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1/4 cup butter
3 Tablespoons flour
2 quarts chicken broth
2 cup smooth peanut butter
1-3/4 cup light cream
Chopped peanuts, for garnish

Saute onion and celery in butter until soft, but not brown. Stir in flour until well blended. Add broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and puree either in a blender, using an immersion blender, or food processor. Add peanut butter and cream, stirring both in thoroughly. Heat through and serve. Garnish with chopped peanuts (and I used bacon as well.)

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Giving Thanks, a Thanksgiving Tablescape

I know that none of you probably want to see a Thanksgiving table after the fact, but you're going to anyway. Considering that I had absolutely no idea just how I was going to set it as close as the very day before, I thought it turned out beautifully.
It was largely due to our good friend and dinner-and-baseball bud, Lennie, who was not able to join us, but sent a lovely little flower arrangement instead. It was a bit small for our table, so I surrounded it with some faux pumpkins and the result was quite pleasing, I think.

Then, I thought I'd do something really different with the napkins this year, so folded them into turkeys!
While they are more pretty than practical (because each diner has to deal with not only two napkins, but a securing pin and piece of foil), everyone enjoyed them and they were amazingly easy to do.
The best way to learn is to watch this video. I find that it really helps to fold them on an ironing board, and iron between each step. Also, do starch your napkin that will be used for the feathers.
I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving. Here's what we had for dinner (and this took me THREE DAYS to prepare!) that probably tasted better than it looks.
Even two days hence, I am still recovering from it!
Now...on to Christmas!

Plates – Johnson Brothers “His Majesty”
Placemats – World Market
Tablecloth - Williams-Sonoma
Brown Napkins – World Market
Indian Corn Napkins – Made by my mother
Stemware – Gift from my dad

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