Monday, July 30, 2012

Fall Decor Contest at WhisperWood Cottage

Well, I'm arriving late to the party, but not too late, I hope.  We've been out of town, so I just got the news today.  WhisperWood Cottage Blog is having a Talent Scouting Party, and they're looking for fall decor.

I thought I'd show you three tablescapes that I did last fall and a few photos of our fall mantel from last year, as well.

Fall is just about my favorite time of the year, and there's so much you can do to decorate your home and lawn during this season.  For starters, you can dress your kitchen or dining room table in fall colors and textures.  All three of these tables were done by me last November.  Just click on the titles to see the entire post with more views of each table.  For all of these tables, I was, for the most part, able to use things I already had on hand.

The place mats on this first table are reversible, so I was able to flip them over and use them again on my Thanksgiving Table.  I also used this same table runner on the "Giving Thanks" tablescape.  The greenery, autumn leaves, and acorns in the first two centerpieces came from mine and my mother-in-law's yard.  These are a few ways I saved money when I created my fall tablescapes.

Mantels can be tricky to decorate sometimes, involving lots of arranging and re-arranging (at our house anyway).  But they are a great spot to acknowledge the change of seasons in our homes.  Here are some pictures of our den fireplace and mantel last fall.

I found the garland of silk fall leaves on clearance at Michael's, and I thought the colors and texture of the leaves looked very realistic.  The pottery plate with painted pumpkin came from Home Goods.  I love Home Goods merchandise, and they're very budget-friendly. 

All the pumpkins are real; we bought them at a pumpkin farm a few miles from our home.  Pumpkins come in so many interesting colors and shapes now.

The pottery mugs and rooster came from a community of potters in Seagrove, North Carolina.

The hanging copper pot I bought many years ago, and I love it on the fireplace.  The horse brass on the wall to the right of the fireplace was obtained on our trip to England.

The candelabra came from Pottery Barn many years ago, as did the hand-made oak basket on the left.  I filled it with lightly scented pine cones from Michael's.

 A cozy fall fireplace.

We're still in the grips of hot summer temps now, but I'm sure fall will be here before we know it.  It's fun to start sharing some decorating ideas early.  Thanks for visiting my blog and I hope you'll take time to visit the other entries at WhisperWood Cottage today.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Roadside Beauty On The Cherohala Skyway

Yesterday, we drove the length of the Cherohala Skyway which runs across the crest of the Unicoi Mountains.  The Cherohala Skyway crosses through the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests, connecting Tellico Plains in southeast Tennessee to Robbinsville, in western North Carolina.  The skyway's name comes from a combination of the two forests --Chero from Cherokee and hala from Nantahala.  This two-lane blacktop covers 40 plus miles and rises to an elevation of 5,390 feet, at its highest point.

The views from the overlooks are amazing, but one of my favorite things is the wildflowers that grow next to the roadside all along the skyway.  This year, we finally took the opportunity to photograph some of these flowers.  One flower that I had particularly wanted pics of is the Turk's Cap Lily.  I've been admiring it from the car in previous years, but we've just never found the time or the right spot to stop and take pictures.  This year, we got lucky.  In addition to Turk's Cap Lily, we photographed some wild, miniature Daisies; wild Phlox; Queen Anne's Lace; Clover flowers; tiny, wild blackberries, and...a Dandelion spore.  :) 

Mr. Forest Manor is the best nature photographer at our house, hands down.  He also has the better camera, a DSLR, which I'm certainly welcome to use, but I'm not very proficient with it yet.  I normally just use our digital point and shoot.

The first mosaic is comprised from my hubby's pictures.  I thought they turned out fantastic.

I forgot to mention there are butterflies galore on the skyway this time of year.  This particular one was very accommodating during the photo shoot.

The second mosaic is of my pictures, which were taken with the point and shoot camera.  I took more, but they just weren't that terrific.  I thought these were the best of the bunch.  I did have fun trying, though.  Doesn't the Queen Anne's Lace look just like a snowflake?

I'm joining the other folks at Mosaic Monday, hosted by Mary at Little Red House.  I hope you'll stop by to see all the other mosaics by some really talented photographers and thank you, Mary, for hosting!

So glad you visited House at Forest Manor -- have a great Monday!


Friday, July 20, 2012

Quiche Recipe

Earlier this week, I set a French Provençal table for Cuisine Kathleen's Destination Table Challenge.  You can see more pictures of the table in that post Here.

 I wrote that, in keeping with the French theme, we had quiche for dinner.

It was a traditional Quiche Lorraine, which my husband and I love with a salad and good, crusty French bread.   Most of you who cook at all probably have a recipe for Quiche Lorraine tucked into your recipe files.  But just in case you don't, I thought I would share our recipe with you.  Some years ago, I found a bit of interesting history about this quiche in my cookbook, "The Frugal Gourmet."  You may remember him from old episodes on PBS and possibly Food Network.

The Frugal Gourmet (Jeff Smith) writes that the "egg pie" called a quiche is French.  It actually comes from northeastern France in an area known as Alsace-Lorraine near the border with Germany, and once a part of the German Empire.  The old classic, quiche Lorraine, is simply a bacon and egg pie.  Often onions are included.  According to Mr. Smith, "...the Germans have eaten egg and onion pies for years."  Wikipedia says the French word quiche is derived from the German word kuchen.  "Lorraine" indicates the region associated with the traditional Quiche Lorraine.

The recipe that I use came from my mom.  The card, written in her hand, has been in my recipe box most of our married life.

Here's the typewritten version, as this handwritten copy might be hard to read. 
  • One 9" pie crust (I used Pillsbury dairy crust)
  • 12 slices bacon, crisply fried and crumbled (I only use nine or ten slices)
  • 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese (about 4 oz.)
  • 1/3 cup minced onion
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 3/4 teas. salt (I only use 1/4 teas.)
  • 1/4 teas. sugar
  • 1/8 teas. pepper
*One hint that I use from "The Frugal Gourmet" cookbook is to precook the pastry crust before adding the fillings to prevent a soggy crust.  Also, you may want to lightly sauté your onions before adding them to the pastry.    

Heat oven to 425°.  Prepare pastry.  Sprinkle bacon, cheese, and onion in precooked pastry.  Beat eggs slightly and blend in remaining ingredients.  Pour mixture into pie pan.  Bake 15 minutes; then reduce temperature to 350° degrees and bake 30 minutes longer or until knife inserted one inch from edge comes out clean.  Let pie stand ten minutes before serving.

I have to confess that I've never met a pie I didn't like, be it sweet or savory.  :)  This recipe makes for a fairly simple and inexpensive meal, and sometimes I find that those kind are the best.  We think this smells wonderful when it's baking, and it re-heats so well in our counter top oven (not in the microwave).

**Note:  I only use 1/4 teas. of salt, rather than the 3/4 teas. that the recipe calls for.  I feel like the bacon and cheese have enough salt already, and when I used to add the full amount, the quiche tasted too salty.  Also, I'm thinking of using Gruyère Cheese next time instead of Swiss; it's similar to Swiss, but tastier in my opinion.

If you've never made Quiche Lorraine before, I hope you'll try this recipe.  And as always, thank you for visiting my blog and for your kind comments.  I'm linking to Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge FarmSeasonal Sundays, hosted by The Tablescaper, and On The Menu Monday, hosted by Yvonne at Stone Gable.
Au Revoir,


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Provençal Table

If you could drop everything and travel anywhere you wanted right now, where would you go?  Call me crazy, but I've been thinking I'd love to go to the Swiss Alps.  That's right, not a Caribbean cruise or an island getaway.  I'd like to go someplace where the air is fresh and clean (and cool); where all the houses have beautiful flower boxes and you can hear the cowbells ringing across the meadows.  In other words, what I like to call "Heidi Country."

But I'm not going to Switzerland tonight.  I thought I'd go to France instead -- Provence to be exact.  It will probably be every bit as hot and dry as it is in North Carolina right now, but I bet it would be colorful and exciting, never the less.  Cuisine Kathleen, who hosts Let's Dish every Wednesday evening, has given us a challenge to create a travel destination table.  I'm making my table a Provencal table because I have "stuff" from Provence, and I don't have anything from Switzerland or the French Alps. :)

My mother-in-law brought me this tablecloth from one of their trips to France several years ago, and this is the first time I've ever used it.  Our kitchen colors were all too busy before, and the tablecloth wouldn't have looked right.  I'm so glad I can use it now.  She also brought me the blue napkins from France.  I've used them in a few of my previous tablescapes.

I found the yellow salad plates and the serving bowl at Home Goods.  They're "Primagera," made in Portugal.  Flatware is Argent "Sophia" from Le Targét.   ;)

The sunflowers came from our local Whole Foods Market, and the pottery pitcher is actually made by Williamsburg Potteries.  The tumblers are "Picardie," and they're made in France.  They came from Williams-Sonoma many years ago.  The wine stems are part of our wedding crystal -- Gorham "French Cathedral."

I've had the baker's rack that you see in the background for many years, and I do love it. The doors in the bottom have chicken wire, and I think the whole piece has a bit of a French Country look.

Have you read "A Year in Provence," by Peter Mayle?  If you haven't, I highly recommend it.  It's a quick read, and it's laugh-out-loud funny.  

I love these cheerful sunflowers!  Now for the birds-eye view...

And the candlelight shots...

I can't wait to show you our new kitchen, but I don't want to do a full reveal until I choose curtains, and get some things back on the walls.  But here's a tease -- our new chandelier.  I'm loving it! 

My French Country Engagement Calendar stays on the baker's rack.  Ironically, the picture for this week is a former dovecote, which is now part of a hotel in the village of Le Paradou -- in Provence.

For dinner, we're having, what else...quiche.  We love Quiche Lorraine with salad and French bread.  I'll share the recipe for that on Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm.

I also chose France as my getaway destination because Mr. Forest Manor and I are watching the Tour De France on television, like we do every summer.

 I've learned enough about cycling to mostly understand what's going on -- yes folks, amidst all the doping charges, there's actually some cycling going on there too.  But the real reason I watch is for the scenery...and the flags.  You can just call me the flag geek.  :)  I love seeing all the colorful national and regional flags that are flown, carried, and waved every year in the tour.

Thanks for reading my blog; your visits and comments always make my day.  I'm so glad to be joining all the tablescaping folks at Let's Dish, hosted by Cuisine Kathleen and Tablescape Thursday, hosted by Susan at Between Naps on the Porch.

Also linking to Seasonal Sundays, hosted by the Tablescaper.  Thanks to these lovely ladies for hosting each week!
Au Revoir,


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

July Note Card Party, Historic Old Salem

Hello everyone; I'm ready to participate in another one of Vee's fun Note Card Parties at A Haven For Vee.  If you've never visited Vee's blog, you should make plans to visit this evening, and maybe you'll be inspired to create some note cards with your own photos.  You needn't have a particular theme, but you do have to use pictures that have already appeared in your previous posts.  And you can only choose four photos.

For the July Note Card Party, I chose to make note cards of Old Salem, a historic community about twelve miles from where I live.  I love to photograph and write about Old Salem, and consequently, I had a really hard time choosing just four photos.  :)   **I edited this post after publishing to identify what the buildings in the photo are. 

Scenes From Old Salem, North Carolina

First photo is now a private residence, but I think it may once have been the gunsmith's shop.  Can you see the musket mounted by the door on the right?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Krispy Kreme Has A 75th Birthday

Stop the presses, everyone!  I just realized late today that Krispy Kreme is celebrating its 75th birthday in its hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

 Vernon Rudolph bought a secret yeast-raised doughnut recipe from a New Orleans pastry chef, and in July 1937, he rented a building in what is now historic Old Salem.  You can read more about Old Salem Here and Here.  He started by selling his creations to local grocery stores, but passersby were attracted by the aroma of the baking doughnuts.  So Rudolph cut a hole in the side of the building and sold his hot glazed doughnuts to customers right on the sidewalk.

When I realized today was the big birthday party, I thought it might make an interesting post; so we grabbed the camera, and off we went to Krispy Kreme.  My husband's car knows the way all by itself; he stops there every Friday morning on his way to work and buys two boxes of doughnuts for his co-workers at the office.  He started this tradition over ten years ago, and if he's going to be on vacation on Friday, he has to take doughnuts on Thursday.  :)  If he's on vacation for a week, one of his co-workers does doughnut duty.  He jokes and says that if you eat the doughnuts while they're hot, they don't have any calories.  "Just three bites and a pleasant memory."

If he happens to be running a few minutes late for work, everyone's waiting at the door like this...

While we waited in line to place our order, we snapped some pics of the doughnuts on the assembly line.

These guys just rolled through a "sheet" of glaze.

Now we're at the glass cases,

and here are some of the selections...

And of course, it would have been unthinkable to leave the birthday celebration without doughnuts.

I can assure you, folks, that I needed a doughnut like the proverbial hole in the head.  But believe it or not, it's the first time I've had a Krispy Kreme in a long time; they're great when they're hot, but they're just a bit too sweety-sweet for me.  Then again...I wouldn't want to be accused of being a party pooper.  ;)

Do you have a Krispy Kreme shop in your town?  If so, you might want to have a celebratory doughnut.  I'm joining the crowd at Seasonal Sundays, hosted by The Tablescaper, Sunny Simple Sundays, hosted by Elaine at Sunny Simple Life, and Mosaic Mondays, hosted by Mary at Little Red House.

As always, thank you for visiting me at my humble little blog.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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