Friday, April 28, 2017


Warm weather is on its way for many of us. In Texas our grills are cooking up some super special goodness already!  I'm always searching for tasty side dishes to pair with our protein. Whether we are having red meat, turkey, chicken or fish, a side dish is a must. Of course no picnic is complete with dessert, so I've included a couple of those in today's blog too.

I found a recipe, that cuts the fat used in a typical potato salad and tastes delish. It couldn't have been any easier to prepare. And it was hubby approved!

It's called Loaded Baked Potato Salad, but it's not baked! I think you get the tastes like a baked potato, and there's some nice surprises inside; like a packet of dry ranch dressing stirred into the cooked potatoes. 

Click on this link for the recipe:

No picnic is complete without deviled eggs. Let's face it, deviled eggs have come a long way. Even cocktail parties aren't complete without them. The ingredients in this recipe will truly surprise you. 

I was given this recipe from Beth a fellow blogger that I chatted with online last year when I first started blogging. She was so gracious and so helpful with all of my questions. At the time, I was getting ready to host a cocktail party, and she gave me some recipes and some very helpful hints. One of the recipes was what I call-- Beth's Deviled Eggs.

I ended up serving them at our cocktail party and friends loved them! And now they are great for picnic season.They are a bit sweet, but still savory. Who would have thought applesauce and currants along with some other goodies would be in deviled eggs. My girls love them. It's the only way they will eat deviled eggs now.

Here is the recipe:


  • one dozen eggs
Scoop out cooked yolks and place in a small bowl. 

Add to mashed yolks:
  • 2 tbsp. mayo
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. curry powder ( I use a bit less)
  • 3 tbsp. chopped fresh chives
  • 3-4 tbsp. dried sweet currants 
  • 3 tbsp. chunky applesauce
You may add more mayo or applesauce to taste if the yolks are not wet enough. Pipe into
each egg. 

***I have never done this, but Beth also recommended adding a dollop of apple, garlic or ginger chutney on top. She used Stonewall Kitchen. 

Finally, dust the entire plate with shaved almonds and more chives or fresh lemon thyme.

Every picnic has to have the essential dessert. Something a little sweet. I have two very different ideas for you. The first an easy Sorbet dessert. 

Raspberry Sorbet in Lemon Cups

  • Lemons
  • Raspberry sorbet (or your favorite flavor)
Hollow out the lemon using a melon baller. Scoop your favorite Sorbet
into each half, freeze and serve. So easy and so pretty!

I have one more different sweet treat for you. They are just like Rice Krispie Bars, but  with a use Ruffles potato chips instead of the cereal! They have a nice sweet/salty taste that I think will surprise your taste buds.

Ruffles Marshmallow Krispie Treats

You may find the recipe here:

I hope you enjoy this group of recipes, and you're able to use them at your picnics or summer dinners.

Have a wonderful weekend.
***Don't forget to tell your friends about The Lavender Bouquet blog follow us on Facebook too!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


Welcome to Tuesday TLB friends,

In today's blog I'd like to share what happened in the case of the "foggy" island lantern lights!  As I mentioned in a previous blog I was struggling with the foggy look that plagued the new island lights within a week of cleaning them. I tried everything that was recommended to me. Initially, they would sparkle, but in less than a week they would look like the light  below. 

So I decided to contact our lighting company who contacted the manufacturer, they offered
their advice which I had already tried. In the end the store called me and asked me to make another selection because nothing was working for us and they were out of ideas.

This time I was a little shy when it came to selecting anything with glass in it. So the new lantern light you see below is my new choice. We replaced both of the lights with the new lantern (open) style lights.  Now all I have to do is dust them!

The look is quite different, but we really have grown to like it just as much as our original choice.

Lesson learned......don't give up! These type of home selections are costly and we should
always be happy in the end with what we have chosen!

Have a wonderful day!


Friday, April 21, 2017


Welcome to Foodie Friday TLB friends!

In today's blog I am sharing a very special moment with my youngest daughter who knows
how crazy I am about Ina Garten! She hosted one of my favorite Food Network cooking shows, and I have every cookbook she has ever written!

My daughter surprised me with tickets to "An Evening with Ina Garten-The Barefoot Contessa," at the Rosemont Theatre in Illinois. It was a very special mother/daughter evening that I will never forget! 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


Hello TLB friends!

I hope you have all been well and are ready to enjoy the beautiful Springtime weather!
I was able to spend some time at our Florida home for a while, but now I'm back in Texas 
with SPRING landscaping on the brain!

The builder's landscaping package is usually less than stellar, and ours was no different. 
The photo below reflects some of the plants that were spread throughout our front landscape beds. In the foreground is Indian Hawthorne, which is heat tolerant, requires little maintenance, and will have pink flowers on it. The shrubs closest to the house foundation are called Nellie Stevens Holley, and they will make a beautiful hedge under the garage windows and are great for privacy in areas as well. They also have Nellie Stevens Holley trees that are quite beautiful and hardy.

After determining what shrubs to keep, I dug up the Holly and the Hawthorne and strategically spaced them so that similar items were next to each other in a pattern giving them the space that would allow the growth they required as they matured.

(Front right side)

Below, in the back row starting at the left, is my husband's choice, a Teddy Bear Magnolia Tree. We have "3" that will anchor each side of the front beds, and one that will be planted in the center. These trees will grow approximately 20 feet high and 12 feet wide and will flower from May-November. There is nothing like the fragrance of a Magnolia!

Along the foundation are Needlepoint Holly's. We will eventually trim these into a hedge
under the study window.

In the center of the bed is a shrub that our landscaper recommended as being quite hardy,
Cherry Blast Loropetalum. It is a compact burgundy shrub that will have bright red fringe like flowers in the Spring and stands up against the heat of the Texas summers. 

In the front row is another shrub I salvaged from the builders selections. It is called
Dwarf Yaupon Holly. It is a dwarf compact holly with tiny shiny leaves. We will keep these trimmed into small mounds at the front of the beds. 

(Left side front of house) 

In the photo below right, is a Crepe Myrtle tree that I salvaged from the builder collection. Just a little trimming keeps the shape compact. It will blossom with white flowers in May.

Below is a drip line that is buried in all of our landscaping beds controlled at our Irrigation box.  I call it my God send." Who knew a perforated copper pipe could make life so much easier? My Mom and sister would LOVE this!

We chose black mulch to compliment the black wrought iron accents on the house, columns, fence and front door design.

The two red rose bushes in the background below are Knock Out roses that bloom profusely through the heat. They will grow into about a 4 foot diameter of color. In the background, are "2" urns on each side of the single car garage. In each urn is a red Hibiscus topiary adding a pop of color to the otherwise dull concrete driveway.

The columns were a vision I had....have you ever had one of those? One Sunday after mass I had hubby driving around subdivisions looking for ideas......he was such a good sport about it.  What we found was that the columns we saw had stone that matched the front of the homes. So we added the wrought iron pattern to tie in the Juliet balcony's on our second level and a very traditional wrought iron lantern light. 

It dressed up the front of our home, creating an elegant inviting appearance.  Inspiration can come from just about anywhere.....and it is so rewarding! You don't have to have a large double door entry or porch to create a beautiful entrance....just get creative!

I chose simple white petunias to line the walk way to the front door and added a touches of Lobelia (Riviera) as a low ground cover of accent color. The petunias will grow together and present a sea of white color as the season progresses and the added touch of the deep purple Lobelia will be stunning.

The porch urn has a tiny red Petunia vine and a white lacey plant that is new to me, called Diamond Delight. It resembles the softness of Alyssum, but in a mound form that spills over the urn edge. Also a new plant to me is the center plant in the urn. I usually plant a green spike plant of some kind, but the gentlemen at the Flower Barn recommended this new red and green.....that will grow taller and give the urn the height I need in the corner. I'm excited to see it unfold. Trying something new can be so fun!

I found myself using black and white throughout the whole front of the house scheme this year quite by accident,  I even brought out the black and white stripe pillows from the New Jersey house to add a little warmth to the bench on the porch.

  The bench is from Grandin Road and the lantern from Pottery Barn.

This project was a labor of love and so rewarding! I actually need to replace my planting kneeling pad!  I hope you enjoyed following along today. 

Don't forget TLB will be back every Tuesday and Friday. This week I've got an awesome salad recipe that you won't want to miss!

Thanks for joining me today..........