Category Archives: Entertaining

Couldn’t Find It

My son couldn’t find Pumpkin Pie Spice coffee creamer at the grocery store.  So popular I guess they can’t keep it in stock.

Making the creamer at home took about 10 minutes.

Making the creamer at home took about 10 minutes.

Carrie at Deliciously Organic solved our problem with a simple homemade recipe.

The ingredients in pumpkin pie spice: 1 t cinnamon, 1/2 t nutmeg, 1/2 t ginger, 1/2 t cloves.

The ingredients in pumpkin pie spice: 1 t cinnamon, 1/2 t nutmeg, 1/2 t ginger, 1/4 t cloves.

First I mix up my own pumpkin pie spice.

A little goes along way but this is a delicious mixture.

A little goes along way but this is a delicious mixture.

Then on to the creamer recipe:

1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons pureed pumpkin
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk together milk, cream, pumpkin, pumpkin spice, and maple syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When mixture begins to steam, remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, pour into a glass bottle and store in the refrigerator. Makes 1 pint.

I tried straining through a coffee filter but it didn't work.  I just  poured it through a mesh strainer.

I tried straining through a coffee filter but it didn’t work. I just poured it through a mesh strainer.

Hope everyone enjoys it.

Have you switched from store-bought to homemade on a favorite product?

New Year’s Eve Party Plans

Last week I finished the New Year’s Eve Party invitations and gave Charlie the task of handing them out. (I also emailed and facebooked folks we don’t see regularly.)

The cover of the 2014 New Year's Eve invitation.

The cover of the 2014 New Year’s Eve invitation.

Next task, naturally, is the menu. Since New Year’s Eve is on Wednesday this year I want to be sure there are some items on the menu that can easily be made in advance.

A tile triviet awaits a steaming pot of soup which is on this year's menu.

A tile triviet awaits a steaming pot of soup which is on this year’s menu.

Menu:

I can get started on the soup stock this weekend.

What go-to item is on your menu?

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?