Friday, December 27, 2013

Now it is Christmas past....

As I put away the china and silver, wash the tablecloth and napkins, put away the platters, I wanted to show you what the table looked like on Christmas day.....

I used a red linen tablecloth with a grainsack tablerunner. The centerpiece was a silver tray with mercury glass gathered on it....
We then found some red goblets, but not enough so we balanced it with clear glass goblets. We wanted a dressed down version of a table this year, kind of a rustic elegance thing going on....
For dinner we had a roast beef, which is the usual Christmas dinner here. But we had a twist on the usual, finding a recipe for a "stuffed" roast. Modifying the recipe for dietary issues, it was fabulous!

The only change would be to tie it a little better, as the flap rolled back a bit while cooking. It lent a flavor that was divine....
What was it? Well, the recipe from Bon Appetit used eggs and dairy in their recipe, we left that out, creating more of a pesto version with fresh chopped spinach and apple wood smoked bacon. When it was cooked (sorry no picture there my camera died), the smell was fragrant throughout the house!
The rest of dinner was mashed potatoes and creamed spinach (made with almond milk and gluten free flour).
The whole day was wonderful! Starting at 9 am and going all day...but the best part as always wasn't the gifts or the food, but spending time with family!
How was your Christmas?
Nancy

Monday, December 23, 2013

We wish you a Merry Christmas!

As the season gets more hectic....we paused to have a couple of friends over.
We got out ideas from Pinterest just for fun.....and I found this little display for olives, mozzarella balls, and small tomatoes. I thought it was a cool presentation.
You create a "wreath" of rosemary and then tuck olives and the cheese balls and tomatoes in. It is very cute and I love have a different presentation! The only problem, is you might need to tuck a few more in as they disappear!
In any case, we had a great time sharing cheese, crackers, the wreath and dinner with our friends....
Here is wishing you, my readers a very Merry Christmas season!! Hope you stay warm and cozy and healthy!
Nancy

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Dishwasher

Ah, did you think I was going to wash dishes?
Nah, just wanted to share my experience.....
(this is not a paid advertisement either.....just fact sharing)
Years ago, when we re-did the kitchen, roughly 10 years ago, we bought all KitchenAid appliances. At the time, we believed they were top of the line. Found out that about the time we bought them, they changed/ taken over/ revamped....so they were really not top of the line, especially their dishwashers. Well, that diswasher lasted less than two years.
So, when the appliance guy said it was shot, we were not going to buy another KitchenAid.
We went to the internet and studied. Bosch has been top of the line for years. Consistently quiet, running and pleasing to most consumers. So, that is what we chose. It was the cost of three KitchenAids.....but we did it anyway.
We are so glad we did.

We have had to have the appliance guy out twice, and both times it was our fault.
The only problem this machine has, well, it's filter and impeller doesn't like the little brads that knives have, they come off (eventually) and they have killed the impeller twice. Rule of thumb....do NOT put knives in the dishwasher!
What makes this machine so great? Well, the list can be long, but on the short list....
It is quiet.
It is efficient.
It cleans, beautifully.
It doesn't have a heater, so you can wash plastic in it, even bowls on the lower level.
Our water bill dropped. The electricity bill dropped.
It still works.....after roughly 7+ years.....
The repair man said, it is consistently the best machine, and if he has to repair it, it is a knife that was put in and the impeller is broken.....people broke it.....
Years ago, after the second knife thing I asked him about the fact that our glasses were getting cloudy.
He told us it isn't the machine (no surprise) it is the dishwashing detergent.
We use Cascade Complete (though recently Hubby bought this huge Cascade Advanced from Costco.....
But even with all their cleaning power, there is still a chemical missing. Our repair guy told us about Lemi-shine......
This helps take that cloudy stuff out, so your glasses continue to look new, even when they are old. Even the cheap ones from Ikea......
So, I just wanted to share that bit of info.
Regardless of your dishwasher, add a little Lemi-shine to your load.....it will really help...
I have found Lemi-Shine at Target, Vons and Stater Bros. Also, online.....
It is worth that little extra cost, it doesn't take much and it helps keep the inside of your machine clean too!
Again, this is not a paid commercial or in any way am I being rewarded....I just wanted to share info with my blog readers....

Nancy

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Christmas Tree

Today, with on and off rain, we went out with one of our daughters, and picked out a tree. We chose a Noble Fir with great hopes that perhaps it will last longer than the Douglas Firs we have had in the past. We shall see. After all, we just got our heater fixed...so now our house is warm.....
The colors chosen this year are silver, white and touches of red.....



There is a secret here, under the tree skirt. You see, with the new wood floors, we were worried about water finding its way out of the tree stand. Hey, it has been known to happen! So, we measured the stand and found a galvanized bucket that was bigger than the stand....
Then, we placed the bucket on two water resistant materials, set the bucket on that, and then even placed large plastic bags inside the bucket. If, by chance water finds its way out...well, Hubby agrees, a fake tree will be in line. 
But, I have to say, the tree smells divine!
Our daughter is also fabulous at setting up the village we have collected over the years. There are small village houses that the girls painted when they were little, and then we found along the way some Department 56 pieces, so the village has grown....

So, now our living room is feeling quite Christmasy, and smells wonderful!
So, How is your weekend shaping up??
Nancy

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas in the House

After Thanksgiving, out come the decorations. In years past, the front hallway would be awash in boxes of Christmas decorations, as we dug through what would be used.
But this year, Hubby and I are going a much simpler route. Simplify. That is the mantra. almost impossible in most ways, but for Christmas, we can do that. So, we pulled down a couple of boxes in the garage, looked through what we wanted and put the box back!
Then, we took down another, and put that back. Why, even when we put the lights on the outside of the house we finished, and put the boxes back! Trust me, that is not the usual way we do it and it is wonderful to pull out what you need and put it back.....
So, so far, this is what we did....

First up was the mantel. Down went the Fall decor and out came the candles and mercury glass. I haven't quite finished here, as I want to get out more holly and berries....
I wanted a touch of the "rustic" here so I used the webbing. Once it is all done, I think it will be quite nice.
 Next to the fireplace, a poinsettia in a crock with books and a French wine jug....
On the coffee table, I filled the trifle bowl with an orchid in a crock and then with moss and under the moss is Paper whites...and my silver pears that are candles, but I have never burned them....

In the hall, I have this print that I love, I put a little "whimsy" on top with a dash of color....

The dining room window got a fresh wreath in the window, and my chicken feeder, now has paper whites under the moss, just starting to peek through....
And in the family room, just a touch...a poinsettia in one of my crocks...
I am going to put the Christmas village up in the Living room and the tree, when we do, I will show you...
In the mean time, tell me what decorating you are doing... Are you doing a great deal? or going simple this year?
Nancy