From My Carolina Home

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Summer Luncheon

Last week I wanted to have some friends over for lunch and chat time.  It has been a while since I had some gal time, so I planned a nice day for the veranda.  The pots were all planted, flowers blooming all over, and I thought it would be nice to have a meal on the outdoor table.  So I invited some friends, planned a menu, decided on a color scheme for a tablescape and got excited about two new recipes I was developing.  And then, it decided to rain on the day of the luncheon.  So, instead of setting up outside, I set the table in the library in front of the sliding doors so we could have a view.  Better to have the meal inside than not at all!  So, I  spread a tablecloth over the table, brought the pots with the pink flowers inside, and cut some pink hydrangeas for vases to complete a centerpiece.

Summer Luncheon at From My Carolina Home

I wanted pink and green to be the main colors.  The green napkins I have were either too dark or too yellow, so I decided to go with white.  Pulling out the white ones, I found I only had four.  But, I can sew, and I have white fabric.  I went down to the basement and whipped up six white napkins on my serger.  Do you need to do this sometime?  I have a tutorial on Serging Perfect Napkins for you (and also tells how to do it with a sewing machine). These only took me a half hour to run up.

Serging White Napkins for Summer Luncheon at From My Carolina Home

I tied pink ribbons to the acrylic napkin rings to add a bit more pink to the table.

Serging White Napkins for Summer Luncheon at From My Carolina Home

The colors were pulled from these wonderful salad/soup plates that I got at the thrift store. They are deep enough for a light serving of soup or salad, yet shallow enough for use as a lunch plate.  I love the design and the scalloped edge.

Summer Luncheon at From My Carolina Home

Green chargers were set on the table, topped with my white stoneware and the pink salad plates. Individual salt and pepper shakers go at each setting, along with everyday flatware and pretty wine glasses.

Summer Luncheon at From My Carolina Home

Can you tell that it is raining outside?  At least it was light enough to get some pictures of the table.

Summer Luncheon at From My Carolina Home

Place cards had a small bird, and a sentiment “Your friendship is like a song of spring”, from a Stampin’ Up set.

Summer Luncheon at From My Carolina Home

The wine glasses were a thrift store score, Gorham lead crystal for 25 cents each, and they came with the little wine charms too.

Summer Luncheon at From My Carolina Home

Our luncheon began with a new recipe I developed for a chilled corn crab soup.  Recipe shared HERE.

Summer Luncheon at From My Carolina Home

Spinach salad was one of the main course salads, with fresh grated Parmesan cheese, tomatoes and blueberries.

Summer Luncheon at From My Carolina Home

Blueberry vinaigrette for the salad is another new recipe, but that one will have to wait as I am going to enter it in the State Fair competition. I’ll share it after the competition is over.  Ranch was also provided so guests had their choice.  I use this cut crystal sugar and creamer set more often for dressings and condiments than I do for their intended purpose.   I set the blueberry vinaigrette in a depression glass dish to keep the drips off my white tablecloth.

Summer Luncheon at From My Carolina Home

Asian chow mein noodles were passed in a separate dish so my gluten free friends could skip the crunchies, but the others could add them to their salads if they liked.

Summer Luncheon at From My Carolina Home

The other main course salad was a pasta salad with bacon, cheese and tomatoes (not gluten free). This lovely glass bowl was my mother’s, one of her favorite dishes for serving. It holds memories as well as food.

Summer Luncheon at From My Carolina Home

Dessert was a frozen strawberry treat made with fresh strawberries, strawberry yogurt, and bourbon. I found the recipe on the internet, and it was nice to do once, but I doubt I’ll do it again.  I added fresh whipped cream and a chocolate dipped strawberry on top to make it a bit more special.

Summer Luncheon at From My Carolina Home

The hydrangeas stayed fresh for several days past the luncheon.  We’ve enjoyed them on the pub table since the luncheon.

Summer Luncheon at From My Carolina Home

Have you had a fun day with friends recently?

 

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A Christmas Lunch Tablescape and Cookie Exchange

Holidays are so much fun, and a great excuse to ask a few friends over for a little holiday lunch and cookie exchange.  Keeping these small and simple are my preference, and I only have to make 4 dozen cookies.

Luncheon 1

The table is set in the informal area on the game table.  I like a low centerpiece so this time I used a greenery wreath with one of my Mason Jar Candles in the center. There are glittery apples and shiny faux cranberries inserted around the wreath.

Luncheon 6

Four of my little Santa figures are placed around the wreath.

Luncheon 4

Don’t you love these plates?  Each one is different – Hope, Love, Joy, Peace.

Luncheon 3-2

I placed them on my red chargers with a doily on the charger to make it more informal and show off the plates.

Luncheon 5

I switched out the glass coffee cups with my Christmas China mugs. I like the overall look of the table better.

Lunch table

Lunch is bacon and mushroom quiche with a spinach salad.

Quiche

I put out pretty holiday bags to hold the cookies guests were taking home.  One dozen cookies were placed in each bag by each guest as she arrived, so everyone went home with four dozen cookies.

Cookies with bags 2

I made one of my favorite holiday cookie recipes, Eggnog Cookies.  They are nutmeg spiced cookies with rum flavored cookie icing that hardens.  I always make these in bell shapes, I have no idea why.

Cookies 1

 

Here’s a sample of the cookies after the exchange. We had Eggnog Cookies, little round Oatmeal Molasses cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and Dried Cherry Vanilla Chip cookies. All were really tasty.

Cookies

Here’s the recipe for the Eggnog cookies.  If you don’t want four dozen cookies around the house, but you need a few Sugar Cookies to make the holiday complete, see my recipe for Just A Dozen Sugar Cookies.   Enjoy!!

Eggnog Cookies

3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons double acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons nutmeg
2/3 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk

Combine flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in a bowl and set aside.  In a stand mixer, place shortening and sugar, and beat until smooth.  Scrape down sides.  Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.  Add milk and vanilla and beat until well combined.  Add dry ingredients and stir until combined.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll to 1/4 inch thick.  Cut out cookies, re-roll scraps and cut out more shapes until all of dough is used.  Place on baking sheets with a little room between the cookies, bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Do not over-bake, cookies will not brown.  Allow to cool on the baking sheet for two minutes, then transfer to rack to finish cooling.  Frost the cookies thinly with Eggnog Cookie Icing (recipe below), add gold sprinkles if desired.

Eggnog Cookie Icing

1 egg white
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon milk
2 drops yellow food coloring
1 teaspoon rum extract
1 to 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar

Combine egg white and cream of tartar, and beat until frothy.  Add rum extract, food coloring, and a few drops of milk, and about 1/2 cup of powdered sugar.  Beat with mixer.  Keep adding sugar a few tablespoons at a time until the frosting comes together and holds its shape stiffly, but is still spreadable.  If the icing gets too thick, just add a few more drops of milk.  The amount of powdered sugar will depend on the size of the egg white.  Working quickly, frost the cookies thinly and allow to dry.

Happy Holidays!!

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