Friday, December 16, 2016

­čî▓Christmas Dinner Party Including Menu and Recipes ­čî▓

Hello!  How are you doing?  You probably are as busy as I have been trying to prepare for this most wonderful time of year.  As the month of December rolls around everything begins to feel so magical ... Yes, there is lots and lots to do, but the sights and sounds of Christmas are everywhere making us feel just as 'merry and bright' as the song White Christmas tells us.

Each year we look forward to our annual neighborhood Christmas party with friends we have all known for over thirty-years.  We take turns having our get-together at different neighbors homes.  This year we were delighted to visit with Barbie and Doug, our neighbors across our pond and through the woods.  What a delightful treat it is to visit their lovely home as seen in the photo below.

We were invited for cocktails and dinner.  It was a beautiful sight to see our neighbor's lovely home all decorated for Christmas. I love the wreaths at the door and all of the windows plus the little Christmas trees on each side of the door.

 The front yard and driveway of this lovely country home is completely surrounded by beautiful old 
Southern live oak trees,  as you can see in the below photo.

Isn't that a beautifully decorated front porch as seen in the below photos.

And of course the rocking chairs invite guests to "come sit a spell."
How pretty!

I was fortunate to have been invited to an "Easter Chocolate Show" in this lovely home.  
If you would like to visit that blogpost just click on the link below.

If you are like me you just can't wait to go inside ...  Come on, let's go!

As we walk in the front door we see the lovely entrance foyer 
and are greeted by this beautiful Christmas Poinsettia.

Next to this beautiful traditional Christmas flower we see an adorable little angel.  

She looks like she is something very special and she is ... She is Barbie's hand-painted Christmas Angel and is dressed in her mother's baby dress and a special baby bib from the timeless Feltman Brothers collections.

Just across the hall from the entrance table we see this lovely Christmas decorated staircase.

I love the pinecones and holly berries.

And as we go to the family room entrance we see 
"the reason for the season" 
with this beautiful Nativity Scene.

In the below photo we see a charming and spacious family room.  You can tell that the man of the house enjoys hunting. This is my favorite kind of look....natural wood walls with lots of knots in the wood and an inviting fireplace all ready for a cold Christmas evening.

I love how the fireplace is decorated, complete with a natural outdoor-look wreath 
 with pretty red holly berries and a beautiful red bow.

What a beautiful face.

We see the traditional Christmas tree at the opposite end of the family room.  Barbie shared that her good friend and talented and popular Tallahassee wedding florist Missy Gunnels created the lovely bows for the family Christmas tree ... so pretty!

I also know her friend Missy Gunnels.  We met when she consented to create the lovely flowers for our middle daughter's wedding ... She truly does beautiful work.  If you would like to see some of her floral creations you can visit:  

This cute Santa doll and Snoopy were decorating the family room.
They are both such a charming part of Christmas.

I love Barbie's beautiful kitchen as seen in the below photo.  

All of us neighbor ladies worked together in the kitchen to prepare for our buffet-style dinner.   
This is a very workable kitchen with room for everyone.

Do you see that little blue light in the kitchen window in the below photo?

This is a close-up photo of that stunning candle holder.  Isn't that SO beautiful.  Barbie shared that this beautiful blue candleholder with the gold-painted Nativity Scene was given to her by her aunt who was a Missionary in China ... I wonder if it came all the way from her travels to China ...

If you have ever visited this blog you know how I love to take pictures.  So, of course,  I just had to snap a photo of these beautiful apples sitting on the kitchen island.   I think everyone who came to the kitchen area asked if these apples were real.  And, yes they are real.  How perfect and pretty!

And these adorable Santa painted glasses caught my eye.  They are available at Target this year.

And, sitting on the kitchen counter were these beautiful 
deviled eggs which would soon be a part of our buffet-style dinner.  
These are always my husband's very favorite item on the table.

 Some of us would be sitting in the lovely dining room seen below, 
 Others would be sitting at a table in the living room. 
There were six couples all together.

On  the dining room table we see the beautiful Spode "Christmas Tree" china pattern.  
This lovely Spode Christmas design was created in the 1930s and remains a very popular pattern.

The beautiful Poinsettia plant is a lovely dining-room-table centerpiece.

Mr. Google tells us that originally Poinsettia plants were native to Mexico.  Our first Ambassador to Mexico, a Mr. Poinsett, in the year 1825,  spotted these beautiful plants and immediately had some sent back to his plantation home in South Carolina.  He gave one to a friend in Philadelphia, who then placed one in a flower show,  and the rest is history.

Some say the shape of the poinsettia flower and leaves are sometimes thought of as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem which led the Wise Men to Jesus. 

Our hostess Barbie suggested that we have a traditional Southern dinner for our Christmas get-together.
Included toward the end of this post we will see some of the recipes for this Menu.

Fried Chicken
Mashed Cheese Potatoes 
Sour Cream Yellow Squash
Broccoli Casserole
Southern-Style Collard Greens
Deviled Eggs
Corn Bread Muffins with Organic Butter

Cheese Tray and Crackers
Fish Dip
Apple-Caramel Cake
Sponge cake with Fruit and Light White Icing
Pecan Tarts
Butterscotch Gingerbread Trifle

Wine / Water

In the adjoining living room we see the second dining table located just outside the door 
of the main dining room making it easy for everyone to visit during dinner.

If you clicked on the previously noted "Easter Chocolate" post on Sweet Southern Days, you know Barbie makes the most delicious chocolates.  She placed a chocolate decoration at each table place-setting....Isn't that so cute!  And later on after dinner and dessert I enjoyed every bit of her lovely chocolate Santa creation.

In the below photo we see the appetizers and dessert table.

In the below photo we see one of the desserts ... This is the Butterscotch Gingerbread Trifle.  Looks yummy and it was ...


Cheesy Mashed Potatoes
3 pounds potatoes - boiled and mashed
1 - stick of butter
Large scoop sour cream
Large scoop mayonnaise (that's the Southern secret)
3 hands full grated Cheddar cheese
Lots of Cheddar cheese on top
  • Mix all above ingredients together.  Place in baking dish. Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese on top and bake in 325-350 oven until heated through, (about 30 minutes.)
Sour Cream Yellow Squash
2 pounds yellow squash, sliced
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sliced green onions, including tops
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Cook squash in small amount of water, until just tender, about 5 to 10 minutes; drain.
  • Mash slightly; drain again.
  • Combine with sour cream, 1/4 cup butter, onions, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Place in a buttered 1-quart baking dish.
  • Mix together bread crumbs and cheese.
  • Toss with 3 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle over squash.
  • Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes until bubbly.
Broccoli Casserole
 3 - 15 oz. packages of cut broccoli
1  cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 - 8 oz. jar mayonnaise
2 eggs, well beaten
butter (to dot on top)
  • Boil the broccoli according to the package instructions, drain
  • Mix all ingredients together and put in a casserole dish.
  • Sprinkle breadcrumbs on the top and dot with butter.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until bubbling in the middle.
Southern-Style Collard Greens
12 hickory-smoked bacon slices, finely chopped
2 medium-sized sweet onions, finely chopped
3/4 pound smoked ham, chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 (32-oz.) containers chicken broth
3 (1-lb) packages fresh collard greens, washed and trimmed
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Cook bacon in a 10-qt. stockpot over medium heat 10-12 minutes or until crisp.
  • Add onion to bacon and saute 8 minutes.
  • Add ham and garlic and saute 1 minute.
  • Stir in broth and remaining ingredients.
  • Cook 2 hours or until desired degree of tenderness
Cornbread Muffins
8 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
2 and 1/2 cups Self-rising Buttermilk White Cornmeal Mix
2 cups whole buttermilk (I use fat-free when available
3 tablespoons sugar
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal mix, buttermilk, sugar and cooled melted butter, stirring to combine well.
  • Spoon batter into greased muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Cool in pans for about 2 minutes before removing.
  • Makes 12 muffins.
Butterscotch Gingerbread Trifle
1 package (14-1/2 ounce) gingerbread cake/cookie mix
3 packages cook and serve butterscotch pudding mix
2 cartons whipping cream (enough whipping cream to spread 3 separate layers in trifle bowl.)
    (For whipping cream you will need about 4 teaspoons vanilla and sugar to taste.)
  • Cook gingerbread cake mix according to package directions.
  • Cook butterscotch pudding mix according to package directions
  • Whip whipping cream adding the vanilla and sugar to taste.
  • When cake is cooled crumble cake, reserving 1/4 cup crumbs for sprinkling on top of finished trifle.
  • In trifle bowl spread layer of one-fourth cake crumbs.
  • Then spread one-fourth the cooked and cooled butterscotch pudding on cake crumbs.
  • Spread a layer of the whipped cream
  • Alternate layers of each ingredient until final whipped cream topping - then add the 1/4 cup of the crumbled cake as a final topping.    
  • Refrigerate until serving.

We hope you enjoyed visiting with us during our fun Christmas party.  If you choose to make any of the  recipes included here we hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

We surely do hope you are having fun and festive Christmas season days, 

and I am wishing you many of the Lord's blessings during this happy and holy season.

Friday, November 18, 2016

A Southern Wreath

What fun it is to hop in the car and drive up to the charming South Georgia town of Thomasville.   As you can see in the map below,  this little town is a hop-skip-and-a-jump drive from home.  Driving north on Highway 319 it is a short thirty-five minute drive through picturesque plantation country all along the way.

If you would like to see photos of this beautiful plantation country you can click on a previous Sweet Southern Days post showing this area:

My sweet daughter Sharon suggested we drive up and have lunch at one of our very favorite restaurants there in Thomasville.  We also wanted to look around town at some of the very charming shops and possibly do a little Christmas shopping.

Below we see a photo of Jonah's, the restaurant where we had lunch.  This photo was taken a couple of years ago.  At lunchtime there is always a waiting line and in the evening for dinner also.

Next door to Johnah' s restaurant is Liam's Restaurant which is also very popular.

You know you are in the deep South when the wreaths on a door are made out of recently picked cotton.     
These wreaths were so pretty with the fresh picked cotton and burlap bows I just had to go get my camera from the car and take the photo seen below.

As you can see, the restaurant sign out front of the restaurant was surrounded by cotton also.  I could not resist touching a piece of this beautiful cotton.  It felt just like the little cotton balls we have for removing nail polish.

A closer look at this very pretty wreath.

If you would like to see other Sweet Southern Days posts showing this charming little town of Thomasville, Georgia you can click the link below:

One of our favorite shops in the Thomasville area is a shop called DDP Monograms and Gifts.  After lunch we spent a good bit of time oohing and aahing over so many items in this interesting store.  I did not take my camera inside, but if you would like to view some of the gift items you can click on the website link below.

This next week coming up is going to be a busy week as we all prepare for Thanksgiving.  Wishing you wonderful days with many blessings and a very Happy Thanksgiving with lots of turkey and dressing and all of your Thanksgiving favorites wherever you may be.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Visiting The Apple Barn ~ Delicious Apple Bread Recipe

As we drove through north Georgia and entered into the little down of Ellijay, on a recent trip back home from leaf-looking in the mountains of North Carolina, we spotted two apple barns just across the street from each other.  We were curious and wanted to stop and take a look. 

As you can see there were lots and lots of pumpkins as well.

You can see more pumpkins just outside of one of the barns 
and a place for children to play and have fun.

Both barns were full of all kinds of apples.

And other items as well.
As you can see it is peanut and sweet potato season as well.
It is the "raw peanuts" that are used for boiled peanuts, which is a very popular Southern treat.

There were apples for as far as you can see.

And more apples ... We purchased the "Pink Lady" and the 
"Granny Smith" which are some of our favorites for cooking.

Below we see a photo of the recipe made with some of the Granny Smith apples.  
The recipe is called:  Warm Apple Pie Bread with Cinnamon.

This turned out to be one of the most delicious recipes I have ever made and is so simple and easy and a very nice recipe for Fall.  My husband LOVED this delicious apple bread.

If you are interested you can click on the link below to see the details of this recipe ... 

If you try this recipe I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Hope you are having a wonderful week and enjoying these lovely Fall days.  

Saturday, November 12, 2016

A Very Happy Birthday 2016

It was always such special fun for me as a child celebrating my birthday.  My brothers and sisters and I enjoyed Halloween and dressing-up, and going trick-or-treating.  Then, the very next day we celebrated my birthday.  As a child it did not get much better than that ... except,  of course ... Christmas time.

Now celebrating a birthday is even more special as the family has grown and there are lots of loved ones sharing in the fun and making memories together.

Our daughter Debi and family in South Florida could not be joining us, but she very thoughtfully sent this beautiful Happy Birthday bouquet as seen in the below photo. 

I could not believe how beautiful this Fall arrangement was.  Of course, this was a perfect opportunity to try to capture these lovely flowers forever with my camera.

The bouquet was filled with lots of different flowers which included lovely red roses and a mixture of  Fall colored Chrysanthemums, and even some Fall colored lilies and leaves.  I loved the ceramic "pumpkin" vase, which will be a forever keepsake.

Our daughter later told me she had ordered this beautiful arrangement from FTD.  If you would like to have the website where this arrangement, and many other beautiful arrangements are available, you can click on the link below:

I LOVED these flowers in the pumpkin vase.  They arrived a couple of days before the birthday party.  As you can see in the below photo, by the time we got together for the birthday party, the lilies in the arrangement had opened and looked so pretty.

The floral arrangement made a very nice centerpiece for the dining room 
birthday party table,  seen in the below photo.

And then our daughter Sharon and grandson Lawson made the most magnificent Happy Birthday Cake.
As you can see in the below photo they made a four-layer cake,  and Lawson put a surprise inside.

That is grandson Lawson and daughter Sharon in the below photo.

I think this is the most amazing Happy Birthday Cake I have ever had and 
Lawson and his mom made it from the ground up.

In the below photo we see my husband, the birthday girl and grandson Lawson.
The "Happy Birthday" on the cake lit up and flashed.

Sharon used a wedding cake recipe she found on Pinterest.  Then she and Lawson used their creativity and filled the inside of the cake with Butterfingers candy because they know it is my favorite candy ... Now, isn't that so very thoughtful. Filling the cake with Butterfingers was Lawson's job and he loved helping to make that part of the cake.

Two of our daughters live here in town and it was wonderful having them here on a special day.

And, while all of the family could not be here, it was so special to have the members of the 
family who live here in town come to celebrate.

In the below photo, to the left,  is daughter Stephanie, (her husband John is taking the picture.)  Then son-in-law Charlie, daughter Sharon, the birthday girl, my husband, grandsons Dillon, Ryan and Chase (they belong to Stephanie and John).  In the front, grandsons Preston and Lawson (they belong to Sharon and Charlie) ...  

They have two other brothers ... the oldest brother John Scott is away at Troy University in Troy, Alabama.   The next to oldest brother is Will who is away in Japan doing modeling.

Also missing from the picture is Debi and family, and Carmen and family in South Florida, a son Carson and family in South Carolina and daughter DNai and family in Kentucky.  But they were all with us in spirit.

How wonderful it was to share this special day and celebrate with family.

Each birthday is a new beginning.  During the next year it will be fun for me to get my camera as 
often as possible and try to capture some of the amazing beauty all around us.

As we remember our Veterans and all of their sacrifices, we wish you a special weekend with many
blessings wherever you may be.