Blooming Dishes and a Flower Fix


I gathered some blooms for a flower fix, a guaranteed spirit lifter to combat the August blues that comes from a long month of heat and humidity!


Summer flowers are beginning to look tired, wilting from the summer heat. . .

 just like me.


White Stock and peach roses in a $4 blues-buster bouquet from the grocery store add some welcome fragrance. . .


Rounding out a blooming bucket of hydrangeas and Lespedeza that I harvested from the field next to my Potting Shed.


Once vibrant hydrangeas are starting their metamorphosis to softer muted shades of pinks, greens and browns.


My Staffordshire Bouquet is a perennial favorite, always blooming and picked at a favorite antique mall, rather than in the garden.


The Old World brown and multicolored blooms on the transferware, providing a graceful transition into fall at the table.


Before long it will be raking season . . .


Until then I gathered some flowers. . .


And blooming flatware.


And Delphinium hanging in a Ball jar provides a bright burst of color, to fight the August blues.




I can’t resist picking flowers, always on the look out for a single bloom to add to a flatware bouquet.



Hope you’re surviving the heat and enjoying the last days of summer!


Are you looking forward to ushering in fall or sorry to see summer go?

Flowers & Garden Staffordshire Bouquet

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Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme: Herb-Laminated Biscuits

From Frozen to Fancy Herb-Laminated Biscuits

I saw this idea for beautiful herb-laminated biscuits to dress up your bread basket in the September issue of Cooking Light Magazine, and Wow is right, you have to try this!


You can use this technique with any rolled biscuit recipe. I wanted to have a trial run to experiment with them since the herbs in the garden are plentiful now. . .

Herb Garden

They would make a great addition for brunch to serve with ham and for the holidays alongside your turkey platter!


I experimented with this technique with frozen biscuits, and it worked, a pretty metamorphosis for your biscuits, from frozen to fancy, in 30 minutes!


We like Mary B’s Frozen Biscuits. . . they taste homemade and go to the freezer to the table in 20 minutes. Best of all, you can pull out only one or two at a time for your garden fresh tomato and pop them in the oven, resealing the bag!


 With this herb-laminated technique, you blanch your herbs (parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme) in boiling water 5 to 10 seconds and then plunge them in ice water to set the color & stop the cooking process.


Drain your herbs on paper towels and top with additional paper towels. Weight down the herbs with a heavy skillet or pan to flatten them neatly. (I used a baking sheet with a heavy dutch oven on top). Let stand 5 minutes.


Lightly brush tops of your biscuits with beaten egg; arrange herbs on top of biscuits, keeping herbs flat. Gently brush a little more egg on top of herbs to seal or laminate the herbs in place. Bake according to your biscuit recipe or instructions.


I also experimented with tea biscuits that are bite size and would be a fun addition with chicken salad for a shower or garden party.


Try this fun technique with your favorite biscuit recipe or frozen biscuit!


Cooking Light also suggests trying this with cornbread, letting it cook until almost done, then laminating it with your herbs and finish baking.


You can see how easy this technique is and follow the process step by step with this video:

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Novel Baking: Etta Mae’s Worst Bad-Luck Day



I’m joining The Novel Bakers with Etta Mae’s Worst-Bad Luck Day

 by Ann B. Ross

This was my introduction to the Miss Julia series, set in the fictitious Southern town of Abbotsville, North Carolina. Prepare yourself for a fun ride, laugh out loud moments, a cast of colorful characters in this quick read! I hope this won’t be the last we see of Etta Mae Wiggins!

“Bestselling author Ann B. Ross is back with another lively adventure set in Miss Julia’s Abbotsville. For the first time, though, she writes from the perspective of another resident:  the hardscrabble, heart-of-gold Etta Mae Wiggins. Etta Mae is frustrated with her trailer-park life and her no-good family, and she has big dreams for something better. Working as the home nurse for the elderly but wealthy Howard Connard, Senior, she finally sees her chance—with her sexy curves and infectious charm, Etta Mae is determined to become his wife. Unfortunately, Connard’s scheming, money-hungry son and stuck-up daughter-in-law are equally determined to make sure she doesn’t. To make matters worse, Etta Me’s exhusband Skip (her first ex, that is) has shown up with a winning lottery ticket in his hand and local thugs hot on his heels. Plus, her dreamy former flame, officer Bobby Lee, keeps popping up to remind her that she’s not over him yet. In the middle of all this mayhem, Etta Mae has to get that marriage license—before it’s too late!

A hilarious wild goose chase that takes us from the mansions of Abbotsville to the trailer park that Etta Mae calls home, this book is filled with familiar faces (including Miss Julia, who narrates the first chapter), features Ann Ross’s signature wit and southern charm, and will appeal to fans of the beloved series and newcomers alike.”


Among the colorful characters of this book, Etta Mae’s feisty Granny was my favorite:

“She came running out of the kitchen wiping flour from her hands on her apron. Wisps of white hair flew wildly about her wrinkled face, a mustard-colored smear was on her cheek, and her Reeboks left a trail of Red Band flour with every step she took. When Granny cooked, she went at it like Sherman through Georgia.”


I took my Novel Baking cues from Granny. . .

“Gonna make me some fried pies. Got up this morning with a taste for ‘em.

Peach, I’m thinkin’.”


My pies are baked instead of fried.

I used my Nordic Ware Pocket Pie Press that I used for my Scary Hand Pies and Pocket Plum Pies.

You can find one from Amazon, hereYou can also use a bowl as a template to cut a circle of dough for your pies, crimping the edges of your pies with a fork to seal them.

Nordic Ware Pocket Pie Press

 I made a cream cheese pastry crust, but you can use refrigerated store-bought pie crust.

I am a Novel Baker but not a baker :) and I promise this pastry crust recipe is quick and easy to make with a food processor as well as easy to roll out!

Cream Cheese Pastry

recipe courtesy of Kraft foods

2 cups flour

½ tsp. salt

1 pkg. (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened (I use light cream cheese)

1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into small cubes

Pulse all ingredients together in food processor until dough comes together.

Divide into two portions, and shape into flat disks. Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes – 1 hour, until firm.

I got 10 pies (6″ circles of dough) out of this pastry recipe, re-rolling the scraps.


Peach Hand Pie Ingredients

1 pkg of refrigerated pie crust, or recipe for a double crust pie

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 cups fresh peaches, peeled and diced

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Additional sugar, or sanding sugar


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In small bowl combine peaches with sugar, lemon juice, salt, cinnamon and cornstarch.

Unwrap refrigerated dough and roll into a circle. Using back of pie press, cut circle out of pastry dough. Lightly dust pie press with flour. Place dough circle onto top of crimped side of pie press, pressing dough circle down slightly in center.

Spoon about 1/4 cup of fruit mixture onto indented portion of pastry circle. Using a pastry brush, brush edges of pastry circle with egg wash.

 With handles of pie press, fold pie in half and squeeze to crimp and seal edges.


Place pies on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with additional sugar. Cut small slits in top of pie to allow steam to escape. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

You can substitute pie filling for a quick and easy hand pie if you prefer.

Cool & serve. You can find a printable recipe, here.

Peach Hand Pies

“Regardless of where you live —trailer or mansion or somewhere in between—- and regardless of what Granny says, names do count. They tell who you are, where you’ve come from, and what you’ve made of yourself, all in one word. I could’ve call myself Etta Mae Taggert or Etta Mae Whitlow or Etta Mae Connard, since I’ve been, or intend to be, one or the other at various times of my life. In between though, I’ve always gone back to Wiggins, and I don’t know why unless it’s because I figured I had to start at the bottom all over again each time.”


“. . . Granny’s pots and cans of flowers on the porch were blooming all over the place.”

I used Granny’s cans of flowers as an excuse to play by my Potting Shed. . .


“Every other flowering plant that lined the porch and sat on tables was planted in a Maxwell House coffee can.”


Since this is a Novel Bakers’ review, a Swift’s Jewel shortening can is standing in for the part of Maxwell House :)












“ ‘That Miss Granny, she something else, an’ that Miss Julia Springer, she a lady an’ a half.’ ”


“Any book by the beloved creator of the Miss Julia series is a cause to celebrate. Etta Mae is one of the South’s pluckiest, most endearing characters, and readers will love her fun, fast-paced adventures.”

— Michael Lee West, author of A Teeny Bit of Trouble


Visit Jain and Michael Lee to see what fun

 and trouble they cooked up with Etta Mae!

a quiet life

Rattlebridge Farm


The Novel Bakers return September 8th for Picnic Week

with themed picnics, recipes, inspiration and guest bakers!

Peach Hand Pies

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Crowing in Delight: Sunflowers and Pfaltzgraff Evening Sun


Sunflowers make me crow in delight, their cheery faces symbolizing the

the sun and conveying warmth, happiness, adoration and longevity!


 Pfaltzgraff’s Evening Sun is blooming with sunflowers,

the speckled glaze surface of the dinnerware

saturated in a color palette of rich oranges, fiery reds,

sunny yellows and sage green.


Goldenrod and the burgundy foliage of Loropetalum

are sprinkled in with sunflowers in a watering can,

 joining a rooster for a centerpiece for the table.


Goldenrod has been blooming for a couple of weeks now, earlier than normal

 and hopefully a sign the fall will arrive here in the South

sooner rather than later, something else to crow about!


Placemats and napkin rings provide more flowers for the table,

framing the plates with a woven ring of petals and

providing a burlap bloom on plaid and solid napkins.


Bold in design, Pfaltzgraff Evening Sun is also

 generously sized, with a 12 inch dinner plate, 9 inch salad plate,

24 ounce soup/ cereal bowl and 18 ounce coffee mug,

microwave and dishwasher safe.


I added a sunflower cloche to the table,

attracting bees and butterflies. . .


Sunflower Appetizer Plates are decorative as well as functional

and also microwave and dishwasher safe.




Hard Cider Glasses from Mikasa Brewmasters Collection

 feature a tapered base that also helps to hold the carbonation

and prevent overwarming of the glass when held.


They’re filled with orange juice but would work equally well

for serving a mimosa and sunny start to the day!


And a small sunflower plate provides an embossed bloom

for a sunny addition to the table.



Enjoy 20% off one Evening Sun item through September 14th,
with the link below (some exclusions apply):


Sunflower & Evening Sun Table Details:

*Dinnerware / Evening Sun by Pfaltzgraff

*Pfaltzgraff Sunflower Appetizer Plates

*Flatware / International Home Rockport

*Stemware / Hard Cider Glasses, Mikasa BrewMaster’s

Water Hyacinth Placemats/ Pier 1 imports

 Napkin Rings & Rooster / Hobby Lobby (several years ago)

Sunflower Cloche / HomeGoods (several years ago), used here

Placemats & Napkins / Kohl’s

Burlap Tablecloth /  Couleur Nature, Amazon, used here


*Lifetime Brands’ products have been provided free of charge in exchange for promotional consideration.

Sunflowers and Pfaltzgraff Evening Sun

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Skillet Bourbon, Peach and Blueberry Crumble!

 Skillet Bourbon Peach and Blueberry Crumble

We’re enjoying the fruit of the season and

Bourbon, Peach and Blueberry Crumble is

a celebration of summer fruit in a skillet!


I used 6-inch skillets that I found at Cracker Barrel for Patriotic Berry Skillet Cobbler. My hubby is a fan of more topping-to-fruit ratio, which the smaller skillets are ideal for since they’re not as deep as a regular size skillet, and you can enjoy your own generous serving of crumble or cobbler!


The bourbon in this recipe adds a depth of flavor, vanilla, caramel and oak, rather than booziness to the fruit.

This recipe calls for 1/4 cup of bourbon (2 ounces) so a mini bottle is just the right amount if you don’t have any in your liquor cabinet or on your nightstand :)  You can substitute orange juice for an alcohol free alternative but the bourbon is the magic ingredient in the crumble!


Skillet Bourbon, Peach and Blueberry Crumble,

adapted from Guy Fieri, Food Network

Yield: 4 to 6 servings



For the filling:

6 cups sliced peaches (about 5 peaches)

1 cup blueberries

1/4 cup (2 ounces) bourbon

*1/4 cup sugar (you may need to add more depending on the sweetness of your peaches and tartness of your blueberries)

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the topping:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

2 tablespoons heavy cream


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the peaches, blueberries, bourbon, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla. Mix well to coat the peaches and blueberries and set aside.

In a second large bowl, make the topping by combining the flour, oats, sugar and salt. Add the cold butter cubes and cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender or pulse dry ingredients with butter together in a food processor. Mix until the texture is coarse and holds together in clumps in your palm when you give it a squeeze. Add heavy cream and mix just until the dough comes together a bit more.


Pour the filling into a 12-inch cast-iron skillet (I used two 6-inch skillets), then spoon the topping mixture evenly over the filling. I had enough topping left over for another 6-inch skillet that I saved and tossed in the freezer.

Place skillet(s) onto a baking sheet to keep oven clean and to catch any fruit that bubbles over (mine did). Bake crumble uncovered in a 375 degrees F oven, 30 to 40 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling around the edges and the topping is golden in color.

The peach & blueberry filling is not overly sweet so it’s perfect served with vanilla ice cream!

You can find a printable recipe, HERE.

Patchwork Fruit Cobbler

Or help yourself to some Patchwork Fruit Cobbler with an easy to assemble patchwork crust made of squares of sugar-crusted pastry. Recipe HERE.


Taste the Fruit Tablescape, HERE.

“Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.”

~Henry David Thoreau

Skillet Bourbon, Peach and Blueberry Crumble

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A Wheelhouse Picnic


Boating Picnic

Our weather has been typical of summer with

 late afternoon and evening pop-up storms,

so picnicking under the cover of the dock is the

 next best thing to a floating picnic on the pontoon!


I packed a Wheelhouse Picnic for

light and easy summer dining. . .


Also one that’s casual and make-ahead

that can be enjoyed anywhere.


An antipasto platter with marinated artichokes, olives,

assorted meat and cheese and Marcona almonds.

Life preserver not required  :)


Some crackers and fruit. . .


And some wine.


Wheelhouse \ Wheel”house’\, n. (Naut.)

The room on the bridge of a ship from where you steer. . .


. .  .providing you with control and a clear view of what is coming ahead.


Area of expertise, a particular skill.


and Chardonnay :)





Wheelhouse Picnic Details:

Dishes/Food Network™ Cafe Red & Blue Dinnerware, Kohl’s

Goblets/ Dollar Tree

Flatware & Napkins/ World Market

Napkin Rings, Chargers/ HomeGoods

Buoys, Appetizer Boats, Galvanized Tray/ Pottery Barn, several years ago

Flatware, plates, chargers and napkin rings not required for Wheelhouse picnic but I couldn’t resist :)

The Novel Bakers return September 8th for Picnic Week

with themed picnics, recipes, inspiration and guest bakers!

Pack a Picnic: Recipes and Inspiration for a Portable Feast!

Until then if you’re looking for picnic

inspiration you can find some HERE.


“A picnic is more than eating a meal,

it’s a pleasurable state of mind.”

~ DeeDee Stovel, Picnic


Wishing you Smooth Sailing & Happy Picnicking

in your wheelhouse the rest of the summer!


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Peach and Prosciutto Crostini with Basil and Goat Cheese

Peach and Prosciutto with Basil & Goat Cheese

Peach and Prosciutto Crostini with Basil and Goat Cheese is a savory

 and fresh way to enjoy summer peaches.

Sweet and salty, tangy and creamy, just the right combination of flavors

for a light summer appetizer and to enjoy with a glass of wine!


I found this recipe searching for a savory way to use peaches. I made a couple of changes using a mixture of goat cheese and Neufchatel and added a wee bit of honey to sweeten and balance the tangy goat cheese.


 This is more of a procedure than a recipe, feel to adjust or substitute cheeses to your taste.

 I used a ratio of one to one, goat cheese to Neufchatel (or light cream cheese).


Peach and Prosciutto Crostini with Basil and Goat Cheese,

adapted from Cooking Light


 French bread baguette, cut diagonally

2 ounces goat cheese

2 ounces Neufchatel (light cream cheese), softened

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish

 Salt & Pepper to taste

Peaches, cut into wedges

Prosciutto, cut into thin slices


Lightly coat baguette slices with olive oil and toast or grill (I used a panini press). Combine goat cheese, Neufchatel, and honey in a small bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon basil. Spread cheese mixture evenly among bread slices.

Wrap each peach wedge with a piece of prosciutto. Top each bread slice with wrapped peach wedge. Season with salt & pepper to taste and garnish with basil. Serve immediately.

Notes: Adjust the ratio of cheeses to your taste. You can toast the baguette slices and combine the cheese mixture in advance, but assemble just before serving for the best results.

You can find a printable recipe if you need one, HERE.

Hope you’re savoring the flavors of summer!

Peach and Proscuitto Crostini with Basil & Goat Cheese

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A Flower Fix, Black-eyed Susans and Winners!



I’m always looking for a flower fix!

Black-eyed Susans are growing wild, popping up in fields

 and alongside roadways with

a delightful burst of cheery yellow color!


 I stopped to gather some flowers, free for the picking,

to fill some jars and a vase for the Potting Shed.


Along with Black-eyed Susan, I cut some goldenrod,

and some lespedeza, with its clusters of pea-like pink blooms,

(identified by a reader last year, thank you Janet :)




The Nature Library~ Wild Flowers and Garden Flowers,

copyright 1926


“So very many weeds having come to our Eastern shores from Europe,

and marched father and farther west year by year, it is but fair that

Black-eyed Susan, a native of Western clover fields,

should travel toward the Atlantic in bundles of hay whenever she gets

the chance to repay Eastern farmers in their own coin.”


In celebration of Bee Season, Garden Bouquets

and Summertime Sipping. . .

The Bee's Knees Lavender Lemonade Cocktail

. . .The winners of May All Your Weeds *Bee* Wildflowers Giveaway

and Quattro Stagioni Canning Jars

are Sandi Allen and Michelle Wing!


Congratulations to you both,

I’ll contact you by email and get your jars to you.

Thanks to all who entered and May All Your Weeds *Bee* Wildflowers!

Black-eyed Susan Potting Shed

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Home is Where the Potting Shed Is


I received this adorable handpainted jar with

Home is Where the Potting Shed is on it.

Home is Where the Potting Shed Is

 It’s a mini painted replica of my Potting Shed, by Jenna at

 the Painted Apron with oh-so-fun personalized details!


She added cedar shake siding and red front door.



Along with little details that

I love including pumpkins. . .


 And included my windows and window box. . .


Note: Her painted flowers look better than my planted ones. . . :)



She added a watering can. . .


And chalkboard door

and even included bees.


I filled my handpainted jar with bird seed!


If you haven’t met Jenna, I know you’ll want visit the Painted Apron

where she is always busy painting or creating, cooking up a recipe or table!


 She is currently sharing her painted glassware in a Giveaway

in celebration of her Blogaversary!

You can enter to win a set of 4 glasses with your choice of

Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas designs through August 28th, HERE.


You’ll also find a Happy Harvest of her work and painted designs

at JMdesigns Gallery HERE.

Thank you Jenna for my handpainted jar and sharing your talent!!

JMdesigns Gallery Potting Shed Jar

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