Sunday, November 30, 2014

HOLIDAY PEPPERMINT TABLESCAPE

Good Morning Monday!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. My family all traveled back to WNY and we spent a few days with family. It's always a few jam packed days! 

I've been busy as a Christmas elf putting together ideas for the closely approaching Christmas holiday season. Today's blog is a Holiday Peppermint Tablescape.



I love carnations! Martha Stewart says that carnations today get a bad rap, but that wasn't so centuries ago. They were used in royal weddings because they were considered a very sought after flower.

My thoughts about carnations......they are easily accessible all year long from florists to supermarkets. They pack a powerful burst of color when grouped into a tight bouquet. They are cost effective when decorating and "in my opinion" should not be snubbed!

The centerpiece for my Peppermint Tablescape is topped with a large round ball of Red Carnations. It sits on a glass vessel filled with candy canes. What could be more powerful. The deep red is shouting Merry Christmas!

Take a closer look......gorgeous!!


To make the topiary you will need...

1.  Red carnations--how many you will need depends on the size of the foam ball you are covering.
2.  One Styrofoam ball--size appropriate to your vase.


Instructions:
1.  Cut each carnation so that you have a small tiny stem to poke into the foam. Start in rows and work around the ball.

****Make this in the morning for an evening dinner or event.





A little red and white makes a fun Christmas tablescape and it all started with my love for carnations!


Wishing you all a colorful holiday!

Kathleen


Thursday, November 27, 2014

WHAT TO DO WITH THANKSGIVING LEFT-OVERS

Welcome to Foodie Friday!



Well, I see you survived the hustle bustle of the Thanksgiving festivities. I rolled out of bed this morning with an idea I'd like to share with you that just might make your weekend a little less hectic.

Are you looking at lots of containers of left-overs and wondering what to do with them? All of the potatoes, gravy, turkey and dressing? I'd like to share with you a little family secret.

While you are clearing the dishes from the Thanksgiving table, instead of grabbing the Glad containers and filling them with left-overs this is what we do......

Take a 13 x 9 or baking dish and start layering the left-overs in it. Start with a bit of gravy, then potatoes, then gravy, then dressing then gravy.  Seal it up with tin foil and refrigerate it. 

You don't need the added stress of another meal to prepare while guests are in town. Now over the weekend you can pull out the casserole, take the tin foil off and bake it on 350F for approx. 50-60 minutes (check the center to make sure it is warmed through because ovens vary). Add a leafy green salad or warm your leftover veggie if you have one, and you have another dinner. Trust me no one will complain about these left-overs. My family LOVES them!

In the meantime, make yourself a cocktail and relax with your guests. My favorite cocktail is a Kir Royale. Since it's Thanksgiving we need something with a bit of cranberry in it. I've got just the cocktail for you to sip with your guests as your dinner bakes.

Cranberry Kir Royale

Ingredients:

4 ounces chilled cranberry juice
2 ounces chilled creme de cassis
4 fresh cranberries
Chilled Champagne, for topping

Directions:

Divide the cranberry juice, creme de cassis, fresh cranberries 
among 4 champagne flutes. Top with champagne and serve. 

 Zardetto sparking wine, sparkling wine, zardetto prosecco

My husband likes to use  "Z" Zardetto Prosecco instead of champagne. It's a little more cost effective also.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/geoffrey-zakarian/cranberry-kir-royale.html?oc=linkback



CHEERS to a wonderful holiday weekend!

Kathleen








Tuesday, November 25, 2014

THANKSGIVING BLESSINGS


The Lavender Bouquet wishes all of our friends a blessed Thanksgiving! 






Sunday, November 23, 2014

DIY CINNAMON ORNAMENTS

Welcome to Monday my friends!

Well, Thanksgiving is upon us and Christmas will be here before we know it. Can you just imagine all of the delicious scents of the holidays; turkey, stuffing, applesauce, cranberries and pumpkin? How about a little cinnamon thrown into the mix?



A few weeks ago my middle daughter sent me this Homemade Cinnamon Ornament idea. She knows how I love easy ornament DIY's, but also she's well aware of my love for anything cinnamon.

The ornaments take very little time to assemble. Baking in a 200F oven for 1.5- 2 hrs. and you are all set.

They make a great ornament to tie on a gift or something that smells delicious hanging on your Christmas tree and they are not extremely fragile.

 Why not give them a try. It's a great project to make with the kids too!

HOMEMADE CINNAMON ORNAMENTS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 1/4 cup ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves (optional)

Follow instructions on recipe below:
http://www.completelydelicious.com/2012/11/homemade-cinnamon-ornaments.html



I hope you enjoy this easy DIY ornament project. Working with cinnamon makes anything smell great!




Have a terrific day!

Kathleen

Thursday, November 20, 2014

ELEGANT "SUGARED FRUIT" CAKE

 Welcome to Foodie Friday!

It's always so fun to get together with girlfriends for lunch. Even though I usually like to make all of the food for our luncheons myself, I am slowly learning there are things I must "relinquish control" of. One of those things is dessert.

Are you familiar with sugared fruit? For years I've admired this elegant concept. It's stunning, yet simple, in particular when beautifully arranged on tiered cake plates or strategically placed on a layer cake.

I wanted a little "wow factor" for our girls luncheon, but time was short. So remember how I said I was going to "relinquish a bit of control?" I did!

I ran to our local supermarket which has a fantastic bakery with the most delicious cakes. I bought a two-tiered vanilla cake frosted with a simple white vanilla frosting.

I've been at events where simple cakes dressed with sugared fruit were not only our dessert, but were the centerpiece on the table. I've always thought what a beautiful presentation they make.

After searching the web for "how to" instructions, I thought it was about time that I attempted to make one of these beauties. So here goes......



I chose pears, strawberries, black berries, raspberries and grapes to decorate with.




I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the process is. 

Getting started.....

1. Clean, wash and dry the fruit first.
2. Brush fruit with unflavored gelatin. (follow recipe)
3. Sprinkle with superfine sugar and let dry overnight.

The following link will take you to the recipe and instructions that I used:
http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/holiday---celebration-recipes/centerpieces/sugared-fruit-recipe

I chose this particular recipe because I wanted everything to be eatible and safe.There are other recipes out there that use egg whites which would be fine if you were just assembling the fruit for a centerpiece....not eating it.












 (The pear appears a bit large in the photo, but "live" it was just the right size.)


Viola! 

There you have it......my first attempt at an Elegant Sugared Fruit Cake. I'm feeling pretty smitten with myself right now. And I'm also wondering why I never tried this before!

Now it's your turn....go sugar your fruit and share your photos with us! We' LOVE to see them!


I close today with a very important message... I wish my hubby, the man that captured my heart many moons ago, a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY today! xx



Kathleen



****Don't forget to sign-up to have THE LAVENDER BOUQUET blog sent directly to your inbox. Just locate the box at the right-hand side of the blog and fill in your email address.  It's that easy! See you Monday!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

CRUSHING ON MY NEW PUMPKIN COFFEE CREAMER

Good Morning Friends,

Hope you're enjoying your week!

This time of year I find myself craving pumpkin everything. How about you? Every weekend hubby and I hit one of the large coffee chains for an early Saturday morning coffee together.


You know that great coffee smell that hits you as soon as you enter the door? Well, in the Fall with all of the pumpkin signage that hangs around the store, the power of suggestion overtakes me and I find myself wishing for a taste of pumpkin anything in my coffee. 

I typically add just a touch of cream so my coffee is not sweet. Unfortunately, if I do want a taste of pumpkin in my coffee it comes in the form of a sugary syrup. Darn!

Have you ever wondered what was in that syrup?  I'm sure the ingredients are locked away in a vault somewhere.

In search of the perfect sugar-free Pumpkin Spice Coffee creamer I hit the internet. I found tons of recipes, but one in particular caught my eye. It's made with lots of spices that we associate with Fall, unsweetened Almond Milk (oh so good for you),heavy whipping cream, a couple tablespoons of pure pumpkin and a bit of sweetener in the form of Swerve or Splenda. It's also really easy to make........

Does that sound good?


Here's the recipe:

http://www.cutthewheat.com/2013/09/pumpkin-spice-coffee-creamer-low-carb.html

If you're in the mood for a bit of Fall Spices and pumpkin in your coffee, head to the grocery store, and grab the ingredients for this quick and easy creamer. It keeps fresh in an air tight container in the frig for up to two weeks.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Kathleen

Sunday, November 16, 2014

FAMILY CHRISTMAS DINNER FAVORITES

Welcome back my friends!

I hope your weekend was relaxing. In just 10 days we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving. Canada is always ahead of us celebrating theirs in October. Where have the days gone?

Thanksgiving dinner at Mom's will be for all of my extended family. This year my niece, her husband and son won't be able to make the trip.......they're having another baby and it's just too close to her due date to travel. We will miss them!
Every year Mom prepares the favorites that have graced our family table for many years. 

In today's blog I'm sharing some of my daughter's and husband's family favorites from our own family traditions. 



Our Christmas dinner consists of turkey and stuffing, Cranberry Walnut Relish, squash (or lately we've changed up our side dishes to include brussel sprouts) and of course the family favorite mashed potato dish that originated back to the early days we lived in Springboro, Ohio.

The Almost-Famous Cranberry Walnut Relish is actually a Food Network kitchen recipe. It's their version of the dish offered at Boston Market. My youngest daughter loves this!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/almost-famous-cranberry-walnut-relish-recipe.html

The Light Bread Stuffing originates from Cooking Light. I've been serving this to our family for years. We don't really like a lot of strong herbs in our dressing so the quantity and type used in this recipe seem to please everyone.

http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/cooking-lights-bread-stuffing/72073

Sharing a tip in case you don't have enough gravy boats to serve your gravy in.......use a French Press Coffee Maker.




What are your family's favorites? Sharing is a great way to try new recipes....feel free to share with us.

Have a wonderful day!

Kathleen




Thursday, November 13, 2014

HUBBY'S BIRTHDAY MAPLE-WALNUT APPLE CRISP

Welcome to Foodie Friday!

We have one birthday in our family in November and that would be my hubby. Between being born in the Fall and living his childhood in Western New York where apples are so plentiful, who wouldn't want a good apple anything for their birthday!!



When we were first married he always wanted a Spice birthday cake, but about 11 years ago, he changed his mind. No more cake, he wanted Apple Crisp with French Vanilla ice cream. I thought okay, I can do that. What could be easier.

I found a recipe in Cooking Light magazine that has become a mainstay since then. Every year no matter where we celebrate my husband's birthday, he has his Maple-Walnut Apple Crisp with French Vanilla Ice Cream.

The thing he loves about this recipe is it's loaded with lots of sweet apples, a touch of cinnamon and a crunchy crisp topping.



The recipe is quick and easy----it takes longer to peel the apples than to assemble the crisp. 




MAPLE-WALNUT APPLE CRISP
Ingredients:
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup regular oats
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
14 cup chilled butter or stick margarine, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
7 cups sliced peeled Rome apples (about 3 lbs.)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 375F
2. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, oats, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a medium bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture is crumbly. Stir in walnuts.
3. Combine apple and remaining ingredients in a large bowl, toss well. Spoon apple mixture into a 8-inch square baking dish or 1 1/2 quart casserole. Sprinkle with crumb mixture. Bake at 375F for 45 min or until golden brown.

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/maple-walnut-apple-crisp


If you are looking for a delish crisp......give my hubby's favorite a try. I know you'll love it too!

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Kathleen

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

TLB CURATES BOARD FOR HOMETALK


Good Morning TLB friends!

I have some good news for you.....HOMETALK loved my Fall tablescape post! In fact they loved it so much they asked me to curate a board on Festive Thanksgiving Runners.

I've been busy gathering projects from Hometalk posts that I think you'll enjoy. Many of those I have chosen reflect colors that may not typically be seen on everyone's Thanksgiving table. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.




Follow the link below to check out my board.....http://www.hometalk.com/b/5172092/festive-thanksgiving-runners


Thanks so much for stopping by!

Kathleen


Sunday, November 9, 2014

DIY EASY CHRISTMAS/HOLIDAY PILLOWS

Good Morning Monday!

I've been browsing magazines and catalogs as they arrive in my mailbox searching for ideas that I could share with you. I came across a similar pillow idea in a catalog that I thought it would be beautiful at holiday time. Come take a peek at how easy this is to make and let me know what you think.........

It's DIY week #3 Easy Christmas/Holiday Pillows. 



If you can sew you too can make this beautiful pillow! Here's what you will need to make two:

1. 2- 18" pillow form
2. 1 1/4 yards of fabric for the pillow
3. 1/2 yard fabric for the center stencils
4.  1/2 yard Pellon (or whatever brand you like) Wonder-Under fuses fabric to fabric
5. 1 or 2 stencils.... size and choice are up to you. I used two foam stencils that I found in Hobby Lobby. My tree is 11" high and my snowflake is 9" high.


DIRECTIONS:

1. Cut 4-19 x 19" squares of fabric for 2 pillows.
2.  Prepare a contrasting fabric for the center decoration by ironing on Pellon Wonder Under onto the fabric per directions on packaging.
3.  Cut out decoration.


5. & 6 Press decoration onto fabric centering it before ironing it into place using a damp cloth.



7. With right sides together stitch 5/8" seam around the fabric perimeter, leaving 5-6 inches open to slip the pillow mold in to. Clip an angle at each corner which helps form a point on each corner.
8. Turn the pillow case right side out and press.
9.  Stuff pillow mold into case, and blind stitch the case closed.

It's that easy! Take a peek at the snowflake too.....



I hope your creative juices are beginning to flow. These pillows are quick and easy and add a beautiful holiday touch to any room.

Have a wonderful day!

Kathleen

****Thanks so much for stopping by! See you on Wednesday.





Wednesday, November 5, 2014

NEW FALL COLORS ROYAL BLUE & ORANGE

Happy Thursday friends!

It's been no secret that I am in love with the color combo of deep royal blue and orange. The first time I laid my eyes on a photo of these two colors together was in Better Homes and Gardens magazine. To say I am obsessed is an understatement.

I searched my entertainment pantry and found the perfect vases to use to create this vignette. I can always count on my favorite grocery store for great priced floral bouquets. I bought orange daisies (mums work great too), grabbed some bittersweet vine, mini pumpkins and the perfect gold tray. 

Come take a look........






Are you a fan of royal blue and orange like me? Tell us what you think about this color combo. It's a nice twist to the traditional Fall colors.

Wishing you all a wonderful Fall day!

Kathleen

***Just a quick note......there will be no FOODIE FRIDAY post tomorrow. We will see you on Monday! Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 3, 2014

WEEK #2-DIY CHRISTMAS ORNAMENT

Good Morning Monday friends!

It's a beautiful Fall day here today. The sun is shining with a cold windy breeze, but it sure is pretty from inside!



Today's blog is Week #2 of inexpensive DIY Christmas ornaments. 

When I buy napkins for an event I always over buy. I have stacks of napkins leftover from every occasion. As I was considering what ornament to make for the DIY project today I thought I'd try using some of my holiday napkins.

Since I've already purchased my box of ornaments and have napkins and Modpodge in my stock pile, it was an easy decision. I'm making a DIY Modpodge ornament.

Because the coverage area is small for an ornament I chose a napkin with lots of different size prints on it.




After cutting the napkin into pieces, tear off the white backing. Apply the Modpodge to areas on the ornament working from side to side, top to bottom. I chose my designs carefully so that the actual design did not overlap covering one another. Smooth the napkin as much as possible as you glue. I used a dry brush for this.





The final result.........




There you have it. Another easy and inexpensive ornament that would make a great gift or look beautiful on your tree.

Wishing you a wonderful week!

Kathleen