Category Archives: Entertaining

I Came Down with Christmas Fever

Actually while I was feverishly getting the house ready for Christmas I also developed pneumonia which really put me down.

The plan is for the Christmas tree to be in the empty space in the dining room.

The plan is for the Christmas tree to be in the empty space in the dining room.

Two of Santa’s helpers came by with a freshly cut Christmas tree harvested in western Maryland.

How happy and surprised was I when the tree was delivered.

How happy and surprised was I when the tree was delivered.

Charlie cut off the bottom and stuck it in a bucket of water until next week when we’ll bring the tree stand down from the attic.  It looks like fairly large tree but we really won’t know until we drag it inside and set it up.

The first saw Charlie tried (above) was not good (OBVIOUSLY) but we found another one and soon the bottom was off the tree.

The first saw Charlie tried (above) was not good (OBVIOUSLY) but we found another one and soon the bottom was off the tree.

I added some sprigs of boxwood to the crèche under the coffee table in the living room.

Before

Before

After

After

I also added a long piece of sparkly ribbon to the mantel — just what it needed.

Before

Before

After -- a touch of ribbon.

After — a touch of ribbon.

Hopefully I’ll start to make more progress when the antibiotic takes effect. I’m sure to get a bolt of Christmas cheer when the children facilitate the church service today with songs they’ve been practicing for months.

Is something slowing your progress?

Working on the New Year’s Eve Invitations

Actually I’ve been working on the living room curtain and they’re taking longer than expected.  I was ready to hang up the prototype before I do all the hand sewing necessary for the pinch pleats but can’t find the curtain hooks. I’ve looked everywhere!

I can't find the curtains hooks that I so carefully set aside for the living room curtain project.

I can’t find the curtains hooks that I so carefully set aside for the living room curtain project.

So instead of curtains I’m focusing on invitation. In the past we used a Tiffany catalog to help “ring” in the New Year.

Tiffany inspired invitation.

Tiffany inspired invitation.

Here’s the first glimpse of this year’s invitation.

This year the theme is very proppah.

This year the theme is very proppah, indeed.

“Tiaras encouraged.”

Got plans?

The Secret to My Quiche

One of the dishes I made for our Thanksgiving brunch is ham and Swiss cheese quiche.

Ham and Swiss Quiche

Ham and Swiss Quiche

I started by slicing yellow onions and sautéing them slowly in butter/olive oil in a pan until they were golden brown. (For the party I did this step the day before.) I also lined pie plates with crust dough in advance so I could just fill them in the morning.

Charlie peeled the onions and I sliced them in the food processor with the 2m slicing blade.

Charlie peeled the onions and I sliced them in the food processor with the 2m slicing blade.

To assemble the quiche I covered the bottom of the uncooked pie crust with a layer of the caramelized sliced onions. (This step is my secret weapon and works for any savory quiche.)

Slow-cooked caramelized onions line the pie crusts.

Slow-cooked caramelized onions line the pie crusts.

Then I dotted the onions with a layer of Swiss cheese, then ham, them more cheese.

Ham and cheese layered on the onions.

Ham and cheese layered on the onions.

At a ratio 1 large egg per quarter cup of half and half (or milk or cream) I mixed together the custard and poured it over the solid ingredients.

Egg and cream mixture fills the pie shells.

Egg and cream mixture fills the pie shells.

I baked the quiches at 325 degrees until they looked done. (I know that comment is not helpful but I lost track of time and knew the custard was set when the tops were golden brown.)

Ham and cheese quiche

Ham and cheese quiche

These quiches were a big hit.  In addition to a layer of well-cooked onions on the bottom I can also recommend a Pillsbury Ready-made Pie Crusts from the grocery dairy case.  For the pies above I used Trader Joe’s Frozen Pie Crusts which, to my mind, weren’t as good as the Pillsbury.

Do you have a recipe with a secret ingredient?

Ready for the Thanksgiving Kaffeeklatch

We have a lot to be thankful for here at The Glade.  Charlie and I send blessings to everyone who reads LFTM and wish you a wonderful and peaceful Thanksgiving Day.

We sliced and sautéed loads of onions.

We sliced and sautéed loads of onions.

We spent yesterday cooking anything that could be prepared ahead of time in anticipation of our Thanksgiving morning open house.

We're setting up the coffee station on the peninsula.

We’re setting up the coffee station on the peninsula.

We went to bed with the buffet table set and the breakfast food ready to pop into the oven.

I like to lay out different types of silverware on the table so folks can select what they like.

I like to lay out different types of silverware on the table so folks can select what they like.

This morning we’re finishing up a few cooking details: baking the French toast casserole, sautéing apples, making cranberry turnovers, and assembling turkey sliders.

We wonder how we used to have parties with our former tiny kitchen.

We wonder how we used to have parties with our former tiny kitchen.

Other than coffee drinks everyone should feel free to concoct their own drinks.

The cold drink station is near the refrigerator with an ice dispenser on the door.

The cold drink station is near the refrigerator with an ice dispenser on the door.

We can’t wait for our first guests.

The dining room is prepared for a breakfast buffet.

The dining room is prepared for a breakfast buffet.

Happy Thanksgiving.

How are you celebrating?

Temporary Ramping

Two years ago in December Charlie started building a ramp into the house just in case anyone needed to come in who couldn’t manage stairs.

We still have the sections of this ramp built before the renovation.

We still have the sections of this ramp built before the renovation.

Now we’re arranging a ramp again but this time straight in the front door.

Making the turn into the front door would be difficult with the ramp on the side of the front porch.

Making the turn into the front door would be difficult with the ramp on the side of the front porch.

At first Charlie thought it could go sideways up to the front porch but the seemed to make an impossible right turn to get up the last step into the house.

The platform is level with the door sill.

The platform is level with the door sill.

Instead he started out in the front yard and made a platform which brings the porch deck up to the door sill.

Two 10-foot 2 by 4s are the basic frame for the ramp.

Two 10-foot 2 by 4s are the basic frame for the ramp.

Then the ramp starts in the yard and meets up with the platform. It is planked with old cedar boards.

The ramp will be ready for Thanksgiving guests.

The ramp will be ready for Thanksgiving guests.

We’ll test it out on Thanksgiving Day.

Plans for the holidays?

One of My Favorite Hostess Gifts

When I take a gift to a party for the hostess/host I like it to be useful/consumable.

What hostess couldn't use homemade vanilla extract?

What hostess couldn’t use homemade vanilla extract?

One of my favorite gifts is a set of kitchen towels.

Fall themed kitchen towel for my friend who loves ruby red.

Fall themed kitchen towel for my friend who loves ruby red.

If I know your color scheme I’ll try to accommodate but there are also great neutral designs from which to choose.

A wrapped package is always fun to get.

A wrapped package is always fun to get.

What are you giving this year? What would you like to get?

Under the Gun Party Planning

Weeks ago I started planning an open-house style party for Thanksgiving morning. Everything I had designated for the second week of November is still undone so now I’m busy working on the finalized menu and grocery list. (Most of the invitations have been delivered.)

Our invitation

Our invitation

I’ve had sewing projects cluttering up the dining room so first on the list that must be put away. Unfortunately, while I did finish a couple of sets of pillows, I did not get the kitchen and living room curtains finished. Phooey! New curtain goal: before the end of the year.

The dining room table is covered with potential sewing projects.

The dining room table is covered with potential sewing projects.

Charlie and I have selected the table linens.  Next we’ll pull all the china and crystal plates and glasses for the various items we plan to serve.

Since I am a hereditary dish diva, we have lots from which to choose.

Since I am a hereditary dish diva, we have lots from which to choose.

The menu has some items on it I’ve never made before.  I’m not afraid to mix tried-and-true recipes with daring newcomers.  The worse that could happen is that nobody eats it.  I’m not afraid of failure (which is a good thing or else I would never entertain and I’d give up the DIY thing altogether).

In 2012 oranges and cranberries were decoration, this year they're on the menu.

In 2012 oranges and cranberries were decoration, this year they’re on the menu.

The menu:

  • Baked Pumpkin French Toast
  • Cranberry Turnovers
  • Ham and Swiss Quiche
  • Hard-boiled Eggs
  • Oranges (or tangerines) and Bananas
  • Pan-fried Apples
  • Turkey Sliders
  • Yogurt
  • Coffee drinks and Juices

The buffet table will begin the morning with the more traditional breakfast items and as the day progresses those things will be replaced by lunch-style foods.

We'll be offering fresh fruit for people who are picky morning eaters.

We’ll be offering fresh fruit for people who are picky morning eaters.

Now that we have a large kitchen we’ll use the island as the drinks area along with the coffee bar as a service counter.

The baristas will make coffee on the left end and serve it on the right side.

The baristas will make coffee on the left end and serve it on the right side.

Due to the renovation it’s been over a year since any of our friends have visited.  Can’t wait.

What’s on your plate?