Monthly Archives: January 2018

Happy “Third” Year Blogiversary

 

blogiversary third with DATE

Photo Jan 25, 2 45 49 PM INTRO

Click on the photo to enlarge and then the back arrow to return to original size.

Hi Everyone,

I can’t believe that another year has flown by and DishingwithDiane is now,

THREE YEARS OLD TODAY!

I absolutely LOVE sharing my tablescapes, stories and recipes with all of you. It has been a wonderful experience for me and I have made so many new friends over the three years. You have all become a second family to me.

I want to thank each and every one of you for becoming members and showing the love and support for this blog.

Please continue to ask your family and friends to follow, like, share and join DishingwithDiane.com, as we continue to grow.

And continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

I hope along our journey together, I have inspired you to try a new recipe or given you an idea for you to create a tablescape at home.

Photo Jan 25, 2 42 29 PM INTRO CAKE

So now let’s start a celebration tablescape to bring us into year number FOUR together…

For this anniversary tablescape I wanted to feature my Italian Deruta dishes. Both my husband and my son bought me new pieces for Christmas to add to my collection and I can’t wait to use them.

Let’s start with the tablecloth. I am using a sunflower gold tablecloth to blend with the rim of the dish.

Photo Jan 25, 12 07 20 AM - TABLECLOTH SUN

I am adding something that I don’t normally use on my tables and that is a table runner. For this particular pattern, I thought the table runner pulled everything together nicely.

Photo Jan 25, 1 47 58 PM (1) EXTRA

The dishes are one of my favorites, Nova Deruta.

It is an earthenware dish with scalloped edges with a cream background and a sunflower gold & rust rim. The intricate pattern on the dish feature vibrant colors of navy, turquoise, sunflower and rust.

While doing some research about the dishes from Italy, I discovered that this design also originates from a fresco made by a Renaissance master, “Il Perugino” created the frescoes containing the dominant motif of this pattern. If you travel to Italy you will be able to see them in the “Logge del Cambio” in Perugia. 

Deruta majolica artists later adapted the motif to the ceramic art.

The dinner plate has a scalloped edge and a border in sunflower and rust with the fresco design around the rim and a cream center.

Photo Jan 25, 1 50 11 PM DINNER PLATE

The salad plate also has the scalloped edge with the same design as the dinner plate but the center has the design of the fresco.

Photo Jan 25, 1 50 56 PM SALAD PLATE

The complete set…

Photo Jan 25, 1 51 58 PM SET

I chose two colors from the plate for the placemats and chargers. Rust woven placemats and navy beaded chargers.

(With the lighting the placemat looks orange but it is a deep rust).

Photo Jan 25, 2 42 08 PM PLACE MAT AND CHARGER

These dishes always give me a rustic feel of Tuscany, so I am using wooden flatware to keep the rustic theme going.

Photo Jan 25, 2 10 35 AM FLATWARE

Instead of a solid color napkin from a color on the plate, I chose the Deruta napkins to match the set and wooden napkin rings.

Photo Jan 25, 12 53 00 AM NAPKIN

The glasses will be simple. My clear stemless wine glasses. I didn’t want colored glassware to interfere with the intricate pattern on both the dishes and table runner.

Photo Jan 25, 12 50 41 AM GLASSWARE

The new piece that Bob bought me is the soup tureen. I absolutely LOVE it. Not many people can fall in love with a soup tureen, but I can. I didn’t want to make soup for the occasion, so I am going to use this piece as my centerpiece.

Photo Jan 24, 10 37 58 PM SOUP TUREEN

My son bought me the demitasse cups for Christmas and we will use those later with dessert.

Speaking of which, what is a celebration without a cake?

This year I gave the bakery a challenge when I gave them a photo of the plate and told them I wanted to have all the colors of the plate on the cake. I think they did a great job.

The cake is a marble cake with a layer of cannoli and a layer of chocolate pudding.

Photo Jan 25, 2 47 56 PM CAKE

I had to buy some additional mini cannolis when I picked up the cake. I couldn’t resist; the smell of the bakery got to me.

I will serve these on one of my Deruta serving trays.

Photo Jan 25, 2 10 07 AM SERVING TRAY

Photo Jan 25, 2 43 51 PM CANNOLI

Since I am going rustic, I am using my Acacia wood pedestal cake stand (this comes with a very large dome).  I ordered it from Crate and Barrel. I wish you could see the detail of the wood in person.

Photo Jan 25, 12 58 43 AM CAKE STAND WITH DOME

Photo Jan 25, 1 48 32 PM CAKE STAND

Of course there must be candles and I am using glass votives in shades of emerald, gold and navy.

Photo Jan 25, 2 09 32 AM CANDLES

A few pieces of golden glass table scatter on the runner and we are almost done except for the centerpiece.

Photo Jan 25, 2 12 10 AM TABLE SCATTER

I told you it would be the soup tureen, but it had to have something added.

 At first, I thought I would fill the tureen with hydrangea but that didn’t do it for me once I saw the hydrangea in the tureen. Still searching, I came across these little heather floral picks in Michael’s Arts and Crafts.

I dug through the basket to search for colors that would coordinate with my tureen; came home made the arrangement and now I am a happy girl.

Photo Jan 25, 2 43 45 PM CENTERPIECE

Place Setting

Photo Jan 25, 2 46 24 PM PLACE SETTING

 We couldn’t forget a bottle of prosecco for a celebratory toast,

Photo Jan 25, 2 53 41 PM PROSECCO

and some demitasse with anisette and our 3rd Blogiversary occasion cake.

We are ready to celebrate. 

Photo Jan 25, 4 12 33 PM CAKE

Just a note, I always use a fresh lemon peel for the rim of the cup and anisette sugar in demitasse coffee just like grandma did.

Photo Jan 25, 2 57 45 PM Anisette

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I have to share one other thing about my day of celebration. 

This afternoon, I surprised Bob with cupcakes for an early lunch, but this time the cupcakes were turkey meatloaf cupcakes with mashed potato frosting, chive sprinkles and a grape tomato as the cherry on top.

Served in a cupcake holder with broccoli slaw as a side dish.

I have been celebrating all day.

Photo Jan 25, 4 41 35 PM CUPCAKE HOLDER


Photo Jan 25, 5 05 59 PM MEATLOAF CUPCAKE

Photo Jan 25, 4 54 27 PM MEATLOAF MEAL

I just had to show you. I found the recipe on Skinnytaste.com and for those interested, it is Weight Watcher friendly made with turkey and grated zucchini- delicious. (recipe below)

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

It has truly been a pleasure for me to share three years together with all of you. Spread the word about DishingwithDiane and continue to help me get new members. We have a lot more fun ahead.

Stay well, 

Diane

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Skinny Meatloaf Cupcakes with Mashed Potato Frosting

Servings: 6 • Serving Size: 2 cupcakes • 

Ingredients:

For the Meatloaf Cupcakes:

  • 1.3 lb. 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup grated zucchini, all moisture squeezed dry with paper towel
  • 2 tbsps. onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

For the Skinny Mashed Potato “Frosting”:

  • 1 lb. (about 2 medium) Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 2 tbsps. fat free sour cream
  • 2 tbsps. fat free chicken broth
  • 1 tbsps. skim milk
  • 1/2 tbsp. light butter
  • kosher salt to taste
  • dash of fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tbsps. fresh thyme

Directions:

Put the potatoes and garlic in a large pot with salt and enough water to cover; bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat; simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain and return potatoes and garlic to pan. Add sour cream and remaining ingredients. Using a masher or blender, mash until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°. Line a muffin tin with foil liners.

In a large bowl, mix the turkey, zucchini, onion, breadcrumbs, ketchup, egg, and salt. Place meatloaf mixture into muffin tins filling them to the top, making sure they are flat at the top.

Bake uncovered for 18-20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from tins and place onto a baking dish.

Pipe the “frosting” onto the meatloaf cupcakes and serve.

Makes 12.

 

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Big Chill Dinner

Photo Jan 06, 6 10 13 PM SOUP AND CHICKEN

 

CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE and hit the back arrow to return to original size.

Hi Everyone. 

First of all, I hope that you are all safe & warm from the inclement weather that is sweeping across the country.

Here in the Northeast, we have 14 inches of snow, strong winds and single digit temperatures with wind chills below zero. Not very pleasant.

Please check in on your neighbors to see if they are okay, especially the elderly during this harsh weather.

I have a few recipes that I want to share with you today to hopefully make life a little easier during this weather. It’s brutal to go outside to shovel snow for hours in this blustery weather and then come in and have too start a meal for the family when you are exhausted.

The first recipe is one that I have been using for years and it is fantastic. It is …

Whole Chicken in a Slow Cooker

You season your chicken with a dry rub, into the crock pot with some veggies and you are free for 8 hours to do your other errands (like shoveling). I highly recommend you try this…

Cooks note- In the photo below, I roasted additional vegetables in the oven because I am saving the vegetables in the crock pot for chicken stock.

(I roasted potatoes, parsnips, carrots, red onions, garlic and brussel sprouts)

Here is the recipe. I found it on Thelittlekitchen.net

WHOLE CHICKEN IN A SLOW COOKER RECIPE

Photo Jan 06, 7 09 34 PM CROCK POT CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS:

RUB INGREDIENTS FOR THE CHICKEN…

  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

FOR THE CROCKPOT

  • 1 cup chopped onion, approx. 1 medium to large onion
  • 4 to 5 carrots, scrubbed, no need to peel, chopped in halves or thirds (I peeled them)
  • 4 celery stalks, cut in thirds
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 whole lemon quartered
  • 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 lbs. roasting or fryer chicken

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine rub ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Prep the vegetables and place inside the slow cooker (I use a 7-quart oval).
  2. Remove chicken from packaging and remove neck and pouch with organs. Discard or reserve for later use in another recipe. Rinse chicken with water and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Rub garlic all over outside of the chicken. Put garlic inside the chicken. Put the rub all over the outside and inside the chicken. Add quartered lemon to the inside of the chicken.  (I also added parsley inside the chicken).
  4. Place chicken on top of the vegetables. Cover slow cooker and cook chicken on low for 4-8 hours. (When I used a 4 lb chicken, it took about 6 hours. The time will depend on the size of the chicken and your slow cooker.) Cook until the internal temperature of the leg is at 160 degrees F or use a pop-up thermometer as the original recipe calls for.
  5. Remove chicken and place in a 9×13 glass or ceramic baking dish. Place baking dish in the oven under the broiler for about 4-5 minutes. Allow chicken to rest after removing it from the broiler for 5-10 minutes.

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 I make chicken stock with the veggies and juices in the crock pot.

 Chicken Stock in the Crock Pot

Ingredients

  • Leftover chicken bones or carcass roughly equivalent to one small or medium sized chicken
  • 1 onion, peeled and loosely chopped
  • 1 rib of celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped (no need to peel)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh parsley
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • Salt, to taste
    Note: If you are missing any of these ingredients I wouldn’t let that stop you from making it anyway.

Instructions

  1. After removing all edible meat from the chicken put/leave the bones, skin, cooking juices, etc. in the crock pot. If you are using the chicken carcass from the “Whole Chicken in the Crock Pot” recipe just leave every single thing that’s leftover (except the good meat of course) in the crock pot including the original onion and spices you used when making the chicken.
  2. Add the onion, celery, carrot and spices on top of the bones and fill the crock pot almost to the top with tap water (leaving about ½” at the top).
  3. Turn the slow cooker onto “low” after dinner and cook all night long or alternatively you could start it in the morning and cook on “low” for 8 – 10 hours during the day.
  4. After the stock is done cooking turn off the heat and, using a soup ladle, pass the stock through a fine sieve to remove all herbs/bones/etc.

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Since cold weather calls for hot soup, here is another favorite recipe of mine.

Photo Jan 06, 7 08 12 PM STRACCIATELLA WITH RAVIOLI

This is a soup that my mother made for us all the time and it hits the spot.

Best part, it’s quick.

Having this soup and the crock pot chicken is a perfect combination.

Stracciatella Soup with Spinach (rice or pasta -optional)

Cooks Note:  I add mini cheese ravioli to the soup whenever I can find them in the store, instead of rice. Lately, I have been lucky to find bags in Trader Joe’s. I think they look much cuter than rice.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ quarts of chicken broth (6 cups), homemade is best. Low sodium boxed chicken broth is fine too. Be sure it’s MSG free.
  • 3 large eggs
  • Grated cheese (½ cup)
  • 1 tbsp. of semolina or fine breadcrumbs
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 cups fresh spinach (stems removed)
  • Black pepper to taste.

Directions:

  • Heat broth in a saucepan and bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer.
  • Add 2 cups spinach to the broth to wilt
  • In a small bowl, beat together the eggs, grated cheese, nutmeg and semolina 
  • With a wooden spoon, swirl the soup in a circular motion while slowly pouring the egg mixture. Simmer for 1 minute
  • (optional- 1 ½ cups of cooked rice or pasta of your choice can also be added)
  • Serve the soup with some additional grated cheese and black pepper.

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I hope you enjoy these recipes and stay safe and warm during the BIG CHILL.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well, 

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to subscribe to DishingwithDiane.com.

Once you subscribe, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments, I LOVE hearing from you.

 

 

 

New Year’s Eve – Welcome 2018

Photo Jan 01, 2 48 53 AM INTROClick PHOTO to enlarge, and hit the back arrow to return to original size.

Hi everyone,

I hope everyone had a wonderful Hanukkah & Christmas.

I on the other hand was so sick on Christmas Eve that my whole day was spiraling downward. I woke up feeling awful, stuffy and congested but I was still ready to cook and start my crab sauce and get the meal completed.

First problem, I burned an entire pot of fregola (a form of toasted pasta) with clams and scallops which didn’t add to my day. Burned so badly that the clams & shells stuck to the sides of the pot and I had to scrape them off with a metal spatula- not a pretty sight and I won’t even tell you what the pan looks like.

Word to the wise, cast iron heats up very, very hot and you have to either watch the pot every minute or adjust cooking times. I was just very thankful that I didn’t have company coming over. 

Christmas Eve, Feast of the Seven Fishes is my favorite meal of the year. I was determined to get that meal on the table and I don’t know how I had the strength to finish, but I did. I posted some pics below of the entrees I completed and just didn’t bother with the shrimp scampi and crab cakes. I ran out of energy.

I made baccala (cod) with potatoes & tomatoes – cold broccoli salad with lemon & garlic, baked clams – linguine with crab sauce, mussels & clams – crab meat stuffed shrimp -coconut shrimp – stuffed calamari (squid) and cold seafood salad with shrimp, calamari, scallops, celery, olives in a lemon oil dressing.

I didn’t have time or strength to prepare a Christmas Eve tablescape or Christmas Day tablescape and Bob put together our traditional Williams Sonoma croissants, Christmas morning breakfast.

Photo Dec 27, 3 57 10 PM CHRISTMAS MORNING

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 I am happy to say that I am feeling much better now, so I am posting a

New Year’s Eve tablescape. 

I hope you all had a very nice New Year’s Eve. Since it was 10 degrees in the Northeast, Bob and I stayed home for a cozy dinner.

I made shrimp- clam bisque as the first course.

Photo Jan 01, 2 22 30 AM SOUP

Baked crab cakes with tri-color couscous and a salad for our main course.

Photo Jan 01, 11 47 03 AM CRAB CAKES

And Chocolate Pots de Creme for dessert.

Photo Jan 01, 1 24 44 PM POTS DE CREME

And at midnight, we had assorted hors d’ oeuvres and Prosecco.

Photo Jan 01, 12 29 07 AM HORS D'OEUVRES

So, let’s get started on the tablescape…

This year’s theme is all poinsettias! Something I wanted to do for Christmas.

I love poinsettias; such a beautiful flower but it doesn’t love me back as much. If I buy real poinsettias early in December, I usually have a poinsettia twig left in the pot next to the fireplace on Christmas Eve with hopefully one leaf left. So, I decorate with artificial and Bob buys a real plant close to Christmas and takes loving care of it.

I am starting with a very cheery modern take on a traditional holiday tablecloth. The tablecloth has a white background (sorry, looks off-white in the photo) with red poinsettias, of course and shades of green holly branches.

To me, this tablecloth almost looked like a watercolor painting. This is not the usual plaid for the Holiday season. I purchased the matching napkins as well.
Photo Dec 31, 10 36 44 PM TABLECLOTH

I had to have poinsettia napkin rings and shopping online after Christmas last year, these just caught my eye. I think they are perfect with the placemat.

Photo Jan 01, 12 33 32 AM NAPKIN

I bought poinsettia placemats in Pier 1 last year and have been counting down the 12 months to use them with this tablescape. I just couldn’t resist these.

I didn’t want to use any chargers with this tablescape because the placemats were so pretty. Even the glass chargers didn’t work, you couldn’t see the entire poinsettia.

Photo Dec 31, 10 36 22 PM PLACEMAT

 The set of dishes that I am using are porcelain dishes by 222 Fifth (I buy a lot from that company) and the pattern is called “Winter Harmony”.

The dinner plate has a white background and along the border are poinsettias, holly berries and a beautiful flower that looks like a magnolia to me. The dish has a scalloped border outlined in a thin trim of red.

Photo Jan 01, 12 42 53 AM DINNER PLATE

The salad plate has a white background but the design on the plate is more lush than the dinner plate. This time the entire plate is covered in poinsettias, berries and flowers, all in white and red and it too has the scalloped border trimmed in red.

Photo Jan 01, 12 43 47 AM SALAD PLATE

This is the complete set…

Photo Jan 01, 2 29 55 AM DISH SET

I loved this pattern so much, I bought the platters, tiered servers, cake plate and tea pot.

The flatware for this table are my every day silver and gold combination from Towle.

Photo Jan 01, 12 39 13 AM FLATWARE

The glasses are champagne flutes from my Waterford collection.

I just switched to the matching water goblet for the meal.

Photo Jan 01, 2 27 57 AM WATERFORD

As you know by now, I love candles.

For this table, I used mercury glass votive candles scattered on the table.

Photo Jan 01, 2 49 26 AM CANDLES

My 2018 table decorations will also be my table decorations for New Year’s Day to complete my poinsettia centerpiece. Horns, hats, blowers, eyeglasses and beads. Along with a few small bottles of La Marca prosecco.

Photo Jan 01, 12 37 25 AM CENTERPIECE

Place Setting

Photo Jan 01, 12 39 44 AM PLACE SETTING

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 My dinner for New Year’s Day will be the traditional Italian “good luck” foods for the new year.

The menu is as follows: 

The first course has to be lentils. The story is that lentils are eaten because the shape resembles coins which hopefully will bring you good fortune and prosperity. My family also adds spinach to the lentils because it is the color of money.

The second course is cotechino. Now this is a large pork sausage (looks like a large salami), made from fatback and pork rind and it needs to be boiled at a low temperature for hours. The story is that the richness of the sausage will bring you wealth.

I was never a fan of cotechino, so I substitute any other pork. Pork sausages, pork loin, etc. This year I am making a broccoli rabe and sausage stromboli. I figured the pork and the green for the color of money has to bring me some good luck.

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And that is my New Year’s Eve /New Year’s Day tablescape to welcome 2018!

It has been my pleasure to spend 2017 with all of you and I look forward to the new year together.

From my house to yours, I wish you many blessings along with love, health and happiness in 2018.

Photo Jan 01, 1 28 10 PM TOSTING GLASSES WITH FROST

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well, 

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to subscribe to DishingwithDiane.com

Once you subscribe, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments, I LOVE hearing from you.