Thursday, May 27, 2010

Summer Soiree - Invitations for Entertaining Outdoors

There's something about the summer that just screams "Party time!"  I love wearing sundresses and sandals, and porch parties are always so much fun, so its only natural for me to entertain outdoors once the weather warms up.

Here are some invitations that would be ideal for a casual outdoor party, perhaps a cookout over the holiday weekend, a birthday party, or an engagement party to celebrate your friends.  Remember that you always need to have plenty of cold beverages on hand.  Summer menus tend to involve room temperature and cold foods.  No one likes eating a steaming hot plate of food when it is even hotter outside.

Boatman Geller Lantern Invites from Finestationery.com would be cute for a pool-side birthday party
Inviting Company's Floral Gleam invite at Finestationery.com
Boatman Geller Bright Floral invite is so cheery and versatile!
Stevie Streck Designs Watermelon Invite from Finestationery.com
Checkerboard's Lime Slices Invite would be fun for a cocktail party!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Citrus Dillema: How to Use a Sack Full of Limes

I somehow ended up with a basket full of limes that need to be used ASAP, which led me to begin looking at recipes that call for more than just a lime or two.  I came across some pretty delicious lime-alicious delicacies.

Tyler Florence's Mojito Slush looks pretty stinking yummy.


Martha Stewart's Lime Meltaways are incredible!  The recipe only call for 2 limes, but that's okay:)  

Any more ideas for lime-heavy recipes?!


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Celebration!

I would like to dedicate this post to my Grandmother, who is celebrating her 90th birthday today!  She has been blessed with amazing health, a gentle spirit, and a hard-working attitude.  Here's a picture taken today of my mom, Grandmother and me at Grandmother's birthday lunch. 
My Grandmother has always encouraged me as I tried to learn how to cook, bake, and really make anything my creative heart desired.  I have learned so many valuable lessons over the years from my grandparents, and I am so thankful that I have had grown up with them in my life.

With that being said, I must also mention that my grandmother is an amazing cook and baker.  She is famous in our family for her homemade angel food cake with fluffy white icing, chess pies, and homemade bread.  I absolutely love her green pepper relish, and I can't wait until the fall when she is going to show me exactly how she makes it with the green tomatoes and green peppers from our garden.
I would like to share a recipe that will forever remind me of my sweet Grandmother, her homemade bread.  This bread is sortof a cross between sandwich bread and homemade rolls. I've never tasted anything store- bought that compares to Grandmother's homemade bread. We always have it on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and Grandmother tells me that the baked loaves will keep in the freezer for several months.  It is delicious warmed up in aluminum foil, then sliced and slathered with butter. 

Grandmother's Homemade Bread
1 pkg yeast1/2 cup warm water
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsps salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup vegetable oil (or 1 stick margarine and 1/4 cup vegetable oil)
1 beaten egg
7-8 cups bread flour


In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast with warm water and stir to dissolve. Add sugar, oil, and egg to yeast mixture.  Combine baking powder, soda, and salt with the buttermilk in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Next, alternately add the flour and buttermilk mixture to the sugar/egg/oil mixture. Add enough flour to make the dough stiff.

Put dough in a greased bowl and cover with saran wrap. Let dough rise over night at room temperature or 6-8 hours. Kneed dough well and shape into four loaves. Place dough in greased loaf pans and let rise until doubled in bulk, covered with damp towels.

Bake bread at 375 for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 and continue to bake for another 20 minutes.  Cool loaves for 15 minutes, then remove bread from pans and allow to cool on waxed paper.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Steeplechase Menus: Pre-Race Brunch and Picnic at the Races

The week of Steeplechase has finally arrived.  After much anticipation, the big event is almost here!  I am thrilled that my friends are coming to town, and the weather is predicted to be partly sunny and high temperature of 69 degrees! Despite the terrible weather that hit Nashville last weekend, the races are on!

In case you've been living in a cave for the past 2-3 days, you have probably heard that Nashville was hit by a devastating flood last weekend. Read about the flood here and here. Hundreds of families have been displaced because of this disaster, but the city of Nashville has responded in every way possible to help out those in need. 

Luckily, our home only experienced minor flooding in the basement, so we feel truly blessed.  The creek in our backyard swelled almost 4 times its normal size, and the ground eventually became so saturated that some water entered our house beneath the foundation. After the flood waters receded, we noticed that some HUGE rocks had been deposited in our little creek.  

With all that being said, I am looking forward to this weekend's diversion...Steeplechase! It will be wonderful to spend some quality time with friends.

So without further ado, here are the finalized menus for my 2010 Steeplechase festivities.