Monthly Archives: August 2018

Flamingo Vacation With Grandma…

 

Photo Aug 22, 4 25 40 PM FLAMINGO INTRO 2 -- adjusted

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Hi Everyone,

This story and tablescape is in memory of my dear beloved Grandmother who would have turned 114 yrs old on Aug, 14th and all the joy she brought her family.

So many things in life can remind us of special moments. Sometimes it is the scent of a certain food that reminds us of Mom or Grandma cooking when we were a child, a perfume that reminds us of a special loved one, the type of weather that reminds us of a special event, the cigar smell that reminds us of a favorite Uncle or Grandfather and sometimes, something just as simple as the design on a plate can trigger a memory and that happened to me.

I live in a neighborhood close to the water and we have a great little shop in town that features coastal decor, apparel and jewelry. I go in from time to time just to browse and see if there is anything new I might want to add to my collection.

I was in there last week, and I saw a platter that made me stop and laugh in the middle of the store. Thank God I was with Bob so I didn’t look odd laughing for no reason with no one around. But to me it was a big reason to laugh.

The platter was of all things, a design featuring Flamingos. I held it up to Bob and said “What does this remind you of?” and he had a smile on his face too.

It was our little special moment.

To us the platter brought back a memory of our son and his obsession with Flamingos one year in Florida when we were visiting my Grandmother.

Back 25 years ago, on one of our many trips to see my beloved Grandmother in Fort Lauderdale, FL, she took us to a botanical garden that had Flamingos freely walking around on the grounds. (I don’t think that exists today).

Well, as soon as our son saw the Flamingos, which were about his size at the time or maybe a little taller, he was mesmerized. So much so, that we went back to the botanical garden every day for him to see the Flamingos for the duration of our trip. They came right up to him and he was amazed.

He couldn’t say Flamingo properly back then and called them “Flan-dingos”.

(He would kill me if he knew I just shared that information, but it was just adorable, and who else has the right to embarrass my child, but me? –but keep it to yourself anyway). With my luck, he’ll read this blog post and I’ll get a phone call.

Of course I had to buy him a stuffed Flamingo plush toy to take home with him on the plane and he was thrilled.

My Grandmother got a big kick out of him and his adoration for these birds (He adored his Great-Grandmother too, don’t get me wrong). I think she was also proud of herself that she picked the botanical garden in the first place and it brought him so much joy.

So now, every time I see a Flamingo on anything, it puts a smile on my face.

That was such a wonderful vacation for all of us.

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Back in the store, with the Flamingo platter, I immediately flipped it over for the name of the company or design. The pattern name is “Floridian Design”. I am taking this as a sign from Grandma and the trip to Florida. 

I asked if they carried any dishes to match and the saleswoman said, “No, just platters and Flamingo salt & pepper shakers”. My ears almost fell off. Did she just say salt and pepper shakers? As in my favorite table accent? This was a second sign from Grandma and I was sold.

I bought the salt & pepper shakers and the platter and I had a new mission, complete this collection.

I came home and started my quest to find the dishes that matched the platter. Not too hard a search thanks to Google and Amazon and the pattern was still in production.

The best price was on Amazon, so I ordered them with my prime membership. Two days and free delivery. What could be better than that? (You don’t know how hard it was for me to wait the two days).

Since Grandma’s 114th birthday was on August 14th, I knew the Flamingo tablescape had to be in honor of her. I miss her every single day of my life.

So let’s start a tablescape…

The dishes are a combination of beige, coral and sage green melamine. Which was great because coral, blush, peach and sage have always been some of my favorite colors, so I was very happy with these dishes when they arrived.

The dinner plate has a plaid rim with all the colors and the center of the plate is a single standing Flamingo with a background that looks vintage and has the words “Florida” and “The Land of Sunshine” written across the plate.

All reminders of our wonderful vacation.

Photo Aug 22, 4 28 14 PM DINNER PLATE 2 --ADJUSTED

The salad plate has a solid coral rim and multiple Flamingos on the plate with a soft beige background.

Photo Aug 22, 4 28 44 PM SALAD PLATE

The set also comes with a sage green bowl with both the plaid pattern and a gold rim and a design of a pineapple and tropical flowers.

The pineapple is a traditional symbol of hospitality and “Welcome”.

Photo Aug 25, 1 20 31 PM PINEAPPLE BOWL

Here is the complete set.

Photo Aug 25, 1 21 46 PM COMPLETE SET

Now for a tablecloth... I went through all of my green tablecloths and none of them worked for me, so I went back to Amazon to find a tablecloth. This was harder to find than the dishes. Finally, I came across one that had the perfect colors -but vinyl.

I despise vinyl because I try to stay away from all the chemicals and phthalates it takes to make the product. I thought about it for a day and continued my search and I had to bite the bullet because I didn’t find anything else and the colors were just what I was looking for.

Since the dishes are melamine and the tablecloth is vinyl and both are great for outdoor use (plus the tablecloth is the same dimensions and my patio table), I thought I could make use of it on the patio, so I ordered the tablecloth.

In fabric it would have been perfect.

Photo Aug 22, 4 27 11 PM TROPIC TABLECLOTH

I am using green napkins to pick up a color on the tablecloth. The name of the napkin color is “Gecko Green”  by Dll, just in case you wanted to purchase these. I suppose this color reminded the manufacturer of a lizard.

The napkins are over-sized ( 20 X 20) and look just too large at the place setting, so I rolled them up with a napkin ring instead of folding them next to the plate. 

My napkin rings are gold medal palm trees; which started me thinking that I should find bamboo napkin rings. A new quest…

Photo Aug 22, 4 26 42 PM NAPKIN AND PALM TREE RING

Now the placemats… Since coral is a color from the plate, I have the perfect coral placemats to use. Photo Aug 25, 1 23 50 PM PLACEMAT

The dishes give you a tropical feel, so I am using bamboo chargers. 

Photo Aug 22, 4 27 46 PM CHARGER

To continue the bamboo theme, the flatware is bamboo as well.

(I really don’t get to use these enough).

Photo Aug 22, 4 29 15 PM FLATWARE

Next, the glassware. You will not believe what I found last year in Bed, Bath and Beyond at the summer clearance- Flamingo stemless wine glasses. I bought them even though I didn’t have a thing to use them with and now I do.

Photo Aug 25, 1 28 15 PM GLASSWARE

They are very cute and I will serve Grandma’s favorite drink in them – sweet iced tea with lemon.

Photo Aug 25, 1 29 51 PM GLASSWARE WITH TEA

My centerpiece had to honor Grandma and the first part of the centerpiece is the Flamingo platter that stopped me in my tracks and started this entire tablescape. It is a 19 X 8 rectangle and matches the salad plate exactly.

(Sorry about the size of this photo. For whatever reason, I couldn’t get it any larger than this).

Photo Aug 25, 1 25 08 PM RECTANGLE TRAY

To add to the platter, I am placing a photo of grandma and Michael in a very beachy driftwood frame…

This photo was from Grandma’s 90th Birthday!

Photo Aug 22, 4 30 53 PM GRANDMA PHOTO --ADJUSTED

In addition to the frame, I placed a Flamingo tea light holder on the tray.

This way I can light the candle in memory of Grandma. 

Photo Aug 22, 4 30 18 PM TEA LIGHT

 The last addition to the centerpiece is a Lenox vase (to pick up the beige) filled with once again, my artificial white heather flowers.

During the times that I don’t have flowers to fill some of my vases that I display, I add material in the vase with an accent color of the room it’s in, so the vase doesn’t look lost on a table or dresser. 

For this vase, I already had peach chiffon in the vase. It matched the tablescape so I just left it in with the flowers.

Photo Aug 25, 1 24 46 PM VASE WITH FLOWERS

This is the complete centerpiece…

Photo Aug 25, 1 26 19 PM CENTERPIECE

As far as table accents, well you know one had to be the new set of Flamingo salt and pepper shakers.

Photo Aug 22, 4 34 04 PM SALT AND PEPPER1

I came across a bonus while shopping for the tablecloth. Another set of Flamingo salt and pepper shakers (these are just a shade darker). They are magnetic and they are supposed to look as though they are kissing.

Photo Aug 22, 4 34 17 PM SALT AND PEPPER2

 I also found a beautiful 12 X 8 coral Flamingo figural serving dish while tablecloth shopping.

Just adorable, but I don’t know what I will serve yet.

Maybe some of Grandma’s favorite desserts.

Photo Aug 22, 4 30 00 PM FIGURALFLAMINGO

Place Setting

Photo Aug 25, 1 31 10 PM PLACE SETTING

Photo Aug 22, 4 37 19 PM EXTRA

I think Grandma would have loved this tablescape.

I have one other sign from Grandma to share.

A while ago, while I was in Homegoods, and I bought the most wonderfully scented soap.

Just last night, I noticed that the soap is wrapped in Flamingo wrapping paper.

Yes, it’s a sign, that this tablescape was meant to be.

Photo Aug 25, 9 51 11 PM GIFT

Photo Aug 25, 9 52 49 PM CLOSE UP SOAP

Thank you for letting me share with you my special tribute to my beloved and adored Grandmother.

Until my next post, make everyday a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

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Be prepared for “Company”…

Photo Aug 04, 11 57 58 PM STRAWBERRY INTRO

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

Hi Everyone, 

This is a little advice to always be prepared for unexpected company…

When I was a little girl, my mother always kept a pound cake in the freezer for “company”. This drove my sisters and I crazy because there were many nights we just wanted to thaw it out and eat it.

My mother used to serve us toasted pound cake with fresh fruit and ice cream for dessert on a regular basis and we just loved it.

But the pound cake in the freezer was off limits!

I never fully understood why my mother did this, until this past Friday.

Did you ever get a phone call in the morning from someone that you haven’t seen in a while and they tell you that they will be in your area late afternoon and want to stop in and say hello?

Well, I got that call Friday morning. I invited them for dessert and when I hung up I went into a mini panic.

What would I serve for dessert? Of all days, I couldn’t leave my house to run and get a dessert because I was expecting a delivery from Lowes and I had to be home, so I had to get creative.

I usually hate unexpected company because I like to plan my tablescapes and meals way ahead of time.

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First the tablescape…

If you have been following my blog from the beginning, you know I always change my dishes on a monthly basis to rotate my collection. This month it is all about the  strawberry. Nice and cheery. So it looked as if that would be the tablescape theme since I had everything I needed at my fingertips.

I started out with a basic white weave cotton tablecloth. 

 I have strawberry salad plates, table-runner and napkins already in the kitchen, so that is what I used. I had no time to fuss.

The linens are a solid white background with clusters of strawberries and small red stamped flowers.

Photo Aug 04, 10 43 38 PM TABLECLOTH, RUNNER, NAPKINS

There isn’t enough room on the table for a placemat with the table runner so I just started with a glass beaded charger. I love this charger because it adds something to the tablescape but doesn’t overpower it.

Photo Aug 04, 10 37 37 PM GLASS CHARGER

Followed by a white alabaster dinner plate and my adorable strawberry salad plates.

The dinner plates are white alabaster glass with swirling semi-opaque streaks.Photo Aug 04, 10 38 11 PM WHITE ALABASTER DINNERWARE

The salad plates are a very heavy white melamine with clusters of strawberries around the rim.Photo Aug 04, 11 03 41 PM SALAD PLATE

 Another piece of serveware that I purchased with these dishes is the serving bowl but I didn’t need to use it.

I just wanted to show you what was available.

Photo Aug 05, 2 12 31 AM SERVING BOWL

I originally bought the salad plates to match a strawberry water pitcher that I bought many years ago. I used the water pitcher on Friday for homemade lemonade.

It’s fairly small for a water pitcher (only 8 X 8), which I liked because it doesn’t take up that much room on the table.

Photo Aug 04, 11 06 00 PM STRAWBERRY WATER PITCHER

Water pitchers to me are like salt and pepper shakers. They can carry the theme of your tablescape without being in the way, and are great table accents.

 Along with the water pitcher I used ceramic strawberry salt and pepper shakers on a green leaf plate.

I just loved these when I saw them because of the plate that it came on (and my love of salt & pepper shakers).

They are cute enough to be used on the kitchen counter as an accent for summer decor.

Photo Aug 05, 1 22 51 AM STRAWBERRY SALT AND PEPPER

The flatware was white pearl to match the dinner plate and not clash with the napkins since my red cutlery was too dark.

Photo Aug 04, 11 07 10 PM CUTLERY

I used Waterford crystal tumbler glasses, perfect for lemonade and already in the kitchen cabinet, so things were moving along.

Photo Aug 04, 11 56 27 PM WATERFORD TUMBLER

I was in a pinch so my centerpiece had to be a jadeite cake stand. I think this color looks good as a contrast to the strawberry table runner.

Photo Aug 04, 11 55 16 PM JADEITE CAKE SERVER

I added a few jadeite salad plates, one under the cake stand and one to use with the jar of strawberries in syrup.

Photo Aug 05, 12 13 34 AM JADEITE PLATE

Photo Aug 04, 10 35 16 PM STRAWBERRY WITH SPREADER

I had a strawberry spreader on hand in case anyone wanted some strawberries on their loaf cake and not just on their ice cream.

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That completed the tablescape…

I thought the tablescape looked cute once it was set and that is when I decided to make it a blog post.

Photo Aug 04, 11 07 53 PM EXTRA

Place Setting

Photo Aug 04, 11 05 14 PM PLACE SETTING

Now for the dessert…

 I already mentioned that I had a jar of Italian strawberries in syrupand I could serve them with ice cream, but that didn’t seem to be enough so I had to keep thinking.Photo Aug 04, 11 53 56 PM STRAWBERRIES IN SYRUP

BTW- the strawberries in syrup are not as sweet as the Amarena cherries in syrup.

I used the Italian Amarena cherries with my lemon ricotta pound cake- recipe in the index.

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I bought three pounds of beautiful organic strawberries in Whole Foods for 2.99 a lb. the other day and they were staring at me when I opened the refrigerator, so they became the star of the show.

I had a recipe for “Strawberry Crisp” that I made for a friend who visited a short time ago that only ate gluten free. It is made with oat flour and no refined sugar. I don’t even know where I got the recipe from, but I knew I had all the ingredients in the pantry and that could work. 

I hate when I don’t have the author of a recipe to share with you, because I always want to give credit where credit is due, so I apologize.

If anyone recognizes the recipe and knows the author, please let me know.

Photo Aug 04, 11 54 41 PM CRISP

I wanted to have another dessert choice because the crisp was not going to be very sweet because there is no added sugar, but it is good served with ice cream.

So my last dessert was a loaf cake with a lemon glaze. The recipe is easy and it originally calls for blueberries but I switched it up with strawberries.

Photo Aug 04, 5 56 31 PM STRAWBERRY LOAF

I added some strawberry wafers to the table that happened to be one of my recent purchases from Homegoods. I usually buys these wafers to top ice cream, but I served the wafers in a bowl as a little something extra to munch on.

Photo Aug 04, 5 55 03 PM STRAWBERRY WAFERS

Photo Aug 04, 11 06 15 PM BOWL OF WAFERS

So I started baking and kept thinking of mom and the pound cake in the freezer. She knew what she was doing back then.

I think from now on, I will always have a pound cake or two in the freezer for “company”. I suggest you do the same.

That could have made my life so much easier.

Mom had the right idea, as always.

If my company didn’t like strawberries, (which I thought about after the cakes were in the oven) I was ready to order a pizza or anything take out that they preferred that could be delivered, but it all worked out.

The strawberry desserts were a big hit and the visit was lovely catching up with each other.

I think mom would have been proud of my desserts today.

Plus, Bob was thrilled to come home from work to desserts…

Dessert Plate…

Photo Aug 05, 12 28 42 AM DESSERT PLATE

(Recipes at the end of the post).

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well, 

Diane

If you enjoy the posts, please ask your family and friends to become members of DishingwithDiane.

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

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

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Recipes…

Strawberry Crisp

Ingredients

  • 6 cups about 2 quarts sliced fresh strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 teaspoons almond extract
  • ¾ cup oats
  • ¼ cup oat flour oats that have been ground into a fine flour, or can substitute with whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped almonds
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, toss together strawberries cornstarch, and almond extract until completely combined.** The cornstarch should dissolve in the small amount of liquid so that you don’t see a white powder and the berries are all completely coated.
  3. Transfer berry mixture to the prepared baking dish.
  4. In a separate small bowl, stir together oats, oat flour, almonds, and salt. Add melted butter and maple syrup, stir until completely combined. I like to use my fingers to really mix together the ingredients into the crumble topping.
  5. Spread oat crumble in an even layer over the top of the berries.
  6. Bake at 350F for 50-60 minutes, or until golden brown.

  7. Allow crisp to cool before serving.
  8. If you refrigerate the crisp, it will firm up even more and it will be easy to slice into squares.

Recipe Notes

  • This keeps well in the refrigerator for at least 1 week!
  • **NOTE: The sweetness of the dessert will depend on the sweetness of the berries that you’re using, since that’s the main ingredient.
  • If you don’t have really sweet, fresh, local fruit, just add some sweetener of choice before baking. You can use maple syrup, honey, brown sugar, Splenda, stevia, anything that you prefer!

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Strawberry Loaf

courtesy of Betty Crocker

REMEMBER, RECIPE WAS ORIGINALLY FOR BLUEBERRIES, SO I KEPT BLUEBERRY INSTRUCTIONS  IN ITALICS IF YOU WANT TO MAKE THE ORIGINAL RECIPE.

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened
cup granulated sugar
eggs
teaspoons vanilla
cup sour cream or plain yogurt
Grated peel and juice of 1 lemon
cups all-purpose flour
teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
cup fresh blueberriesI substituted strawberries
Steps

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom only of 9×5-inch loaf pan with shortening or cooking spray.

In medium bowl, beat butter and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in eggs, vanilla, sour cream, lemon peel and juice.

Stir in flour, baking soda and baking powder.

Fold in 3/4 cup of the blueberries. – I substitute strawberries.

Spoon batter into pan.

Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup blueberries – I substituted strawberries on top.

Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely.

Glaze
cup powdered sugar
teaspoons whipping cream or milk
teaspoon lemon extract( you can also substitute vanilla extract).
In small bowl, mix glaze ingredients until smooth. Drizzle glaze over loaf. Let stand until set before slicing.

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Homemade Lemonade

  • 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 cups cold water
  1. In a gallon pitcher combine 1 cup lemon juice, 1 cup sugar, and 6 cups cold water. Stir.
  2. Adjust water to taste.
  3. Chill and serve over ice

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Photo Aug 04, 11 06 07 PM EXTRA COOKIES