Tuesday, December 30, 2014

EASY NEW YEAR'S DAY BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

Can you believe it's New Year's Eve day? We are planning a quiet evening at home to welcome in the New Year. What are your plans?


I like to serve a simple breakfast casserole and fruit on holidays, which usually means making the dish the night before. 

Last year my friend Julie shared one of her family's favorite breakfast casserole recipes with me. She assured me that the dish has received the "seal of approval" from her 3 sons and hubby for many years, so I decided to give it a try for my family.

SISTER SCHUBERT'S BREAKFAST CASSEROLE


Look how delish! Spinach, cheese, eggs, bacon, and Sister Schubert's rolls......how yummy!

Here is the link to the recipe:
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/sister-schuberts-breakfast-bake/

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we did! Many thanks to Julie!!

Wishing all my TLB friends a very HAPPY NEW YEAR! 
TLB will be back on January 5, 2015!

Kathleen






Sunday, December 28, 2014

SIMPLE HOLIDAY TABLESCAPE

Good Morning my friends!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas blessed with good times, family and friends. This time of year brings back so many family traditions that stem back generations, making this blessed holiday so very special! 

Today I'm sharing my casual approach to our traditional family tablescape for Christmas dinner. I love a pretty tablescape but, quite honestly I'd rather spend time with my family rather than fussing extensively on my table presentation. 








Every year I use my Noritake Christmastime china and Pier One goblets. I change up the centerpiece using whatever leftover ornaments, pine cones and garland that I can find and this year arranged them in a simple Tuscan bowl. I placed the bowl on laser cut red felt placemats to ground the setting on a white tablecloth. 

Adding a touch of crystal is one of my favorite tablesetting tips, it especially looks lovely at dusk. The shiny glow from the candles bounces off the crystal giving such a beautiful low light cast on the tablesetting. 


And finally, attaching a small dogwood wreath to the back of each of the dining chairs, adds another touch of festivity to the setting. 

It's as simple as that........what do you think? Share your simple ideas with us...we'd love to hear from you!

Thanks so much for stopping by and don't forget to follow us on Instagram too!  THE LAVENDER BOUQUET


Kathleen




Thursday, December 25, 2014

FIESTA CORN SALSA

I hope your Christmas was a beautiful one. Mine was filled with the warmth and love of my family. I'm so thankful for these days!

It's Foodie Friday and time to think about the menu for New Years Eve.  We spend a pretty low key New Year's Eve at home munching on holiday favorites, and watching great movies.


This year I'm trying a new hearty dip recipe---Fiesta Corn Salsa. It's full of delicious sweet corn, a touch of green and red pepper and cheddar cheese. There's a bit of heat from Cumin, Cayenne pepper, Cilantro and green onion. 

****I think I will add more heat next time, like a small jalapeno. Just to give it a bit more kick!

The flavors meld best after being chilled for about 24 hours. Serve it with Tortilla Chips.

The recipe may be found at:
http://www.sweetlittlebluebird.com/2013/07/tried-true-tuesday-fiesta-corn-salsa.html

(THANK YOU Sweet Little Bluebird)


What are you serving on New Year's Eve? Are you attending a party or staying in?

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Kathleen

Monday, December 22, 2014

MERRY CHRISTMAS!







May your Christmas be filled
with the joys of home and family, 
warmed by the blessings of 
friendship,
and touched with the wonder
of the season.

Kathleen
The Lavender Bouquet




Sunday, December 21, 2014

A NEW YORK CITY HOLIDAY TOUR

 Welcome to Monday my friends!

Last week my husband and I spent a casual day shopping and enjoying the holiday sights in New York City. I decided to take my camera along to snap a few holiday photos of our trip to share with you. 

Grab your coffee and put your walking shoes on...it all starts as we step out of our train at NY Penn Station/Madison Square Garden.....

We were greeted by the most beautiful holiday decorations throughout......


We headed to Macy's on 34th Street........


And their famous holiday window display this year.....Yes, Virginia....




As we walked toward Rockefeller Center we spotted the Empire State Building towering above us......


We stopped for a few minutes to walk in Bryant Park. The Christmas tree was decorated with beautiful red, white and blue ornaments. Such a beautiful patriotic tribute.



The park was bustling with shoppers.....



Our curiosity drew us to this vendor (below) making Chimney Cakes. They are pretzel dough rolled around a wooden dowel, fried and dipped in cinnamon and sugar. The center is hollow and may be filled with Nutella and other lucsious fillings, served warm. Simply delicious! A must try when in the city.

It's not unusual to see Chestnuts roasting at vendor carts....


Or New Yorkers dressed as the Statue of Liberty...


Or other lovely displays of holiday decorations.....


We went to Saks Fifth Avenue and walked the aisles in awe of all of it's beauty inside and out....




And finally Rockefeller Center a national historic landmark in the heart of Midtown Manhattan...

And the ice rink complete with the beautiful Rockefeller Christmas Tree, a worldwide symbol of the holidays in NYC...



No trip is complete without stopping at the gorgeous St. Patrick's Cathedral on 5th Avenue.......


Or the NYC Public Library......



And finally just because everyone needs a souvenir from NY...... The Christmas in New York store.......



 I hope you've enjoyed a glimpse into holiday time in NYC! There's nothing like it!

Wishing you a wonderful day!

Kathleen


Thursday, December 18, 2014

IT'S TIME FOR COOKIES!

Welcome to our "MERRY" Foodie Friday!

It's that time of year when we dust off the favorite holiday cookie recipes, turn on the Christmas music, and bake the day away! The smell of these "special holiday" cookies permeating the house, brings fond memories of Christmases past.

Today's blog is all about the cookies that my family affectionately refers to as their favorites......



#1-Paula Deen's Snowflake Cookies

These cookies are like a sugar cookie with a nice crisp bite to them. I love using snowflake cookie cutters decorating them with different types of sparkling sugars, edible glitters, and drag'ees. 



This year I bought a new giant snowflake cookie cutter from Williams Sonoma. The center is easily removed when cutting which makes it look even more festive like and such a beautiful presentation on a cookie platter.




I drizzle frosting (Vanilla Wilton in the squeeze bottle), then add crushed candy canes, drag'ees or edible glitter. So simple!



I also added a deer head to my cookie cutter collection this year. Check out the little guy on the top right of the platter. I used Nutella for his face, decorative cookie sprinkles for his eyes and nose, and red edible glitter for his antlers. So fun!

Here is the recipe:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/snowflake-cookies-recipe.html



#2 Raspberry Almond Thumbprint 

My husband, middle daughter and my brother love Raspberry Almond Thumbprint cookies. (upper left and lower right on platter) Just a hint of almond in the batter topped with a seedless raspberry jam center. Squiggle some vanilla frosting over the top.....and there you have it! YUMMY!

Here is the recipe:
http://www.landolakes.com/recipe/2534/raspberry-almond-shortbread-thumbprints



#3 Peanut Butter Cookies with Hershey Kisses

Two of my daughters love the Peanut Butter Cookies with Hershey Kisses. I've tried many versions of this recipe, but this one seems foolproof---at least for me!  It's a tried and true recipe that's loved by more than just my daughters! 

Here is the recipe:
http://www.cooks.com/recipe/lv2ae5y1/peanut-butter-cookies-with-hershey-kisses.html

#4 Orange Mexican Wedding Cookies

And finally my favorite....because I love a little cookie with my coffee.......Orange Mexican Wedding Cookies (in the center of the platter). I always add a bit more orange zest because I love the flavor as it melds with the confectioners sugar. Pure heaven!



What are your family's favorite cookies? Please feel free to share your traditions and recipes with us. We'd love to hear from you!


Wishing you a wonderful weekend filled with the warmth and magic of the holiday season!

Kathleen

Sunday, December 14, 2014

HOLIDAY STROLL THROUGH MY HOMETOWN PRINCETON

Good Morning my friends,


During the holiday season I find myself feeling so grateful for so many things; family, friends, our health and the lovely community we live in.



Moving back to the Northeast 3 1/2 years ago has truly been a gift for my husband and me. We have grown quite fond of the area, it's beauty and culture. We love hopping a train into NYC or driving to Philly. We have the most awesome neighbors and are blessed with many friends.




Over the weekend we strolled the streets of our little town. We enjoyed all of the beautiful holiday decorations, and the hustle and bustle of the holiday shoppers. 

If you've never had the pleasure of taking a trip to Princeton follow along with me today as my hubby and I stroll some of the streets in the town we call home.




If you drive along Nassau Street you'll be amazed at some of the most exquisite architecture featured on the campus of Princeton University. 





As we walk further down Nassau Street we see this gorgeous building (below) that houses the Hamilton Jewelry store complete with magnificent holiday window scapes every year.




Princeton is home to many beautiful churches.

Witherspoon Street, named after the very successful John WitherspoonPresident of College of New Jersey for many years. (It was later renamed Princeton University.)



Witherspoon is lined with restaurants, businesses and the public library. It is always such a lively area and even houses our Farmer's Market in the warmer months.


In the The Nassau Inn (shown below) Yankee Doodle Tap Room hangs the largest Norman Rockwell mural commissioned by Edgar Palmer in the1930's. This mural hangs behind the bar and spans 13 feet wide. You will also find names and dates of Princeton University Alumni carved in the oak tabletops. The Alumni photo gallery that lines the walls features; Brooke Shields, and Michelle Obama to name just a couple.




Every year the holiday decorations are hung meticulously throughout the town for us to enjoy.











And the annual tree lighting in Palmer Square in front of the Nassau Inn is breathtaking......







Sometimes we "forget" to stop and enjoy this beautiful season. Why not take your family or go for a walk yourself to enjoy the holiday beauty in your little town or big city.......it truly is "the most wonderful time of the year!"

ENJOY!!!

 Kathleen



Saturday, December 13, 2014

THROWBACK--Tartan Christmas Tablescape

Welcome to throwback Wednesday....check out my Tartan tablescape from 2013!

Last week was such a whirlwind full of celebrations for our family. We call this our "Thanksmas Weekend." We were all (16 of us) able to make it to WNY despite the snow storm that threatened on time arrivals at the last minute. We celebrated our Thanksgiving on Thursday and our family Christmas on Saturday........which means presto chango, tablescapes went from Fall pumpkins and gourds to frosty greens and sparkles in one day!


Tartan Christmas Tablescape

I have not hidden my love for Tartan plaid this year. I found two Tartan red plaid table runners in Home Goods. I always love to use Christmas red somewhere during my decorating. To me nothing is more beautiful this time of year!

The tablescape required:
1.  2--plaid table runners (Home Goods)
2.  3--snowy evergreen branches (Michaels
3.  3--mercury glass candlesticks (Home Goods)
4.  6--crystal like short candlestick holders (Dollar General)
5.  6--white taper candles (Michaels)
6.  2--white tablecloths (Bed Bath Beyond)
7.  2 --strings of pearl garland (Michaels)
8.  6--small red ornaments (Michaels)
9.  2--mercury glass pedestal Christmas trees (Home Goods)
10. 3--6-inch white candles with glittery sparkles (Kohl's)
11. 16--red chargers (The Christmas Store)
12. 16-red linen napkins (folded to look like a bow tie--see U-tube video on How To)
13.  16-red berry napkins rings (The Christmas Store)



Starting from the bottom and building up; add the table runners to the center of the table. Find the center of your table and place the evergreen twigs with mercury candlesticks in between the branches so that you build outward with the rest of the materials. Find the center of each side and place the mercury tree, one on each side, then add a string of pearls around each tree and simply scatter 3 small red ornaments on top of the pearls. Space the taper candles in crystal like holders on the table for candlelight from one end to the other. Add the red chargers, white plates, and red linen napkins, folded to resemble a "bow tie." My daughter, created these by following a U-tube video online.

I hope you enjoy my Christmas tablescape. Why not try a Tartan tablescape on your table this year!

ENJOY!
K

 ****This year my family chose to use white divided disposable plates making clean-up much easier and leaving more "family time" when opening our gifts.