We Interrupt This Blog. . .




We interrupt this blog due to finger trauma. A trip to Urgent Care & six stitches later, I am happy to report that my finger survived, but my friend Ginny’s sweet grandmother’s (Meemaw) glass pedestal did not :-(



 It put up a good fight, it was wickedly sharp.



I have all 10 fingers, but not another vintage cut-glass pedestal~ if we all can pause for a moment of silence. . .







 At least it is immortalized in Blogland~ may it rest in peace (or pieces).


If I’m tardy in replying & visiting, please don’t hold it against me~ I’m temporarily impaired.


Q is for Queen

Q is for Queen

I’m joining Alphabe-Thursday ~ this week’s letter assignment is the letter Q.

Charlotte, NC is known as the Queen City; named by Scotch-Irish settlers who came along the Great Wagon Road from Philadelphia. The name for this new settlement was Charlotte in honor of the wife of King George III, who was the king of England. In 1768, Charlotte became an incorporated city, in the new county of Mecklenburg, which was also named in honor of Queen Charlotte’s homeland of Germany.

Perhaps one of the most confusing intersections in Charlotte, the Queens Road/Queens Road intersection. (I’ve been a resident 25 years and I still get confused!)

 The history of afternoon tea can be traced to Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, lifelong friend of Queen Victoria~ whom she served as a Lady of the Bedchamber. Finding herself feeling peckish at around 4 o’clock in the afternoon, with the prospect of dinner only at 8 o’clock in the evening, she asked for a tray of tea, bread and butter and cakes to be brought to her private chambers. She later extended this habit by inviting friends to join her, and so the tradition of afternoon tea was born.

Queen Victoria’s reign lasted 63 years and 7 months, longer than that of any other British monarch and the longest of any female monarch in history. I highly recommend watching The Young Victoria, if you haven’t seen it ~ beautiful costumes,  beautiful scenery & beautiful Emily Blunt!

Maintaining a tradition that began in 1860 with Queen Victoria, every year Queen Elizabeth II opens the private gardens at Buckingham Palace to host three afternoon tea parties, each attended by 8,000 guests.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, accompanied by members of the Royal Family, enter the garden at 4:00 p.m. as one of two bands plays the National Anthem. Taking a different route, each Royal circulates amongst the guests. High ranking, dignitaries, and special guests proceed to the Royal tent to join the Royal Family for afternoon tea. The remaining guests are served tea from a 408-foot long buffet table.  At 6:00 p.m., the Queen and Royal Family depart for the Palace, where once again the National Anthem is played to indicate that the party has ended.

 Queen Elizabeth II, facts here.

Buckingham Palace Garden Party Statistics

(based on attendance of 8000 guests- list courtesy of Buckingham Palace)


  • 20,000 various tea sandwiches

  • 5,000 bridge rolls

  • 9,000 butter drop scones

  • 9,000 fruit tartlets

  • 3,000 butter cake fingers

  • 8,000 slices chocolate/lemon cake

  • 4,500 slices of Dundee cake

  • 4,500 slices of Majorca cake

  • 3,500 slices of chocolate/jam Swiss roll


  • 27,000 cups of Maison Lyons tea*

  • 10,000 glasses of iced coffee

  • 20,000 glasses of fruit squash

*Maison Lyons tea is a special blend produced exclusively by Twinings for the Buckingham Palace Garden Parties. It is a blend of Darjeeling and Assam leaves which gives the unique flavor of peaches or Mussat grapes.


  • 12,000 tea cups and saucers

  • 10,000 teaspoons

  • 10,000 tea plates

  • 6,000 glasses

  • 408 foot buffet table


400 waiting staff and 30 management

The Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland

This is my favorite Queen :-)

This tea pot, cream & sugar is Royal Doulton/Royal Albert English Chintz.

See the rest of this tea party in its entirety here.

 Quick & Easy Mini Fruit Tarts

For these mini fruit tarts, I used Dutch Ann Frozen Tart Shells. Bake the shells according to package directions. Allow to cool. For filling, mix 8 oz. softened cream cheese (I used reduced fat) with 1/2 jar of lemon curd and 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk. Chill filling and spoon in baked tart shells. Add a mixture of fresh fruit. Glaze with orange marmalade thinned with water, if desired.

Paula Deen’s Benedictine Sandwiches~ a great little tea sandwich~ recipe here.

And last, but not least, a Queen you may not be familiar with, The Sugar Queen, an edible review here.

 Thanks to all my hostesses to this week’s parties I’m linking to:

 Jenny Matlock’s Aphabe-Thursday for Alphabet Fun

 Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday

  Michael Lee at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday~ Stop by & see what’s being served!

Foyer Shadows



I’m joining Hey Harriet for Shadow Shot Sunday. These are shadows in the early morning hours in my foyer.










Be sure to visit Hey Harriet for other Shadow Shots.


Living with Dogs

Living with Dogs: Collections and Traditions, At Home and Afield ***** by Laurence Sheehan


I’m joining Jain with my Edible Book Review at Food for Thought, where pages from your book magically mix with the kitchen and your camera.

This is a favorite book of mine, with a prominent place on my coffee table. I stumbled on it for several years ago (it was published in 1999). If you are a dog lover, this one is not to be missed~ full of beautiful photos of homes, dogs, collections, and quite simply, as one reviewer says:  “this book is a celebration of hardcore dog enthusiasm.”



In his endearing and hilarious introduction, the author, Larry Shehan, talks about his dogs, one of which, a tricolor Collie named Zorro, who he says was “as slow-witted as he was beautiful”. (I had a cat like that :-)   He and his wife add an Australian shepherd puppy, Addie, to their household who “at that early stage of growth looked more like a California sea otter than a dog.”  As his household adapts to the puppy, he confessed to turning into my own worst nightmare– “a guy who carries a picture of his dog around with him in his wallet.” A few years later, he finds a two-year-old English Setter, Buster“His upper lip was hung up on one side of his freckled muzzle and  one ear was flopped, pink side out, giving him a slightly deranged, ready-for-anything aspect.”  He was hooked~ however, he describes his household as becoming dysfunctional with introduction of an exuberant, willful dog deaf to the command of “Come!”. He, his wife, his cat & Addie eventually settle in and adapt slowly:

“The secret of living with dogs is to take the wild with the sweet, and then sit back and wait for the laughs and the love.”

~ Amen!

Here is some of my own canine kitsch~ my collection of chalkware dogs. . .

There is a chapter on dog portraiture. . . here is an oil of a dog in my powder room ~ he doesn’t look like my dogs, but I loved the expression in his eyes~

I loved this cozy room in the book, with all the dog pillows. I makes me want to curl up on the sofa with my dogs and a good book!

“Dogs settle into a home pretty much the way people do, gravitating to a favorite corner, window, or chair.”

This is a “portrait” of my dogs :-) It’s a canvas from Photofiddle, you can see more about that here.

“Like children they leave their toys scattered around– a rubber squeaky here or a half-gnawed bone there. These objects, along with the leashes, collars, food bowls, dog beds, and all the other paraphernalia associated with keeping a dog, turn a house into a habitat– and, late at night when the lights are out, a minefield.”

No food references in this book (other than kibble :-), so I thought I’d do “Pup Cakes” from Hello, Cupcake!

 This is a fun cupcake book, with lots of ideas and directions!


“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”  ~ Roger Caras

Be sure to stop by Food for Thought and see what everyone is reading & eating!

Green Eggs and Ham



Green Eggs and Ham ***** by Dr. Suess




I’m joining Jain with my Edible Book Review at Food for Thought, where pages from your book magically mix with the kitchen and your camera.



I’m sharing this book at Food for Thought, because I discovered that this classic is 50 years old this year! In my google searches for events of 1960~ for my best friend’s husband’s 50th birthday, I discovered these book facts and was delighted to reacquaint myself with Green Eggs & Ham:


Green Eggs and Ham was published in 1960 and became the fourth best-selling English-language children’s hardcover book of all time.




Bennett Cerf, Dr. Seuss’s publisher, wagered $50 that Seuss could not write a book using only fifty different words. The bet came after Seuss completed The Cat in the Hat, which used 236 words.




“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” 

– Dr. Suess (Happy Birthday to You!)




“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

— Dr. Seuss (Oh, the Places You’ll Go!)




Green Eggs & Ham~ courtesy Rachel Ray, recipe here



These were quick and tasty~ they would be great for a brunch. If you cook them 15 minutes as the directions call for, the egg will be firm. If a softer yolk is more to your liking, cook 10 minutes and let the egg stand several minutes more, before removing from the muffin cup. A touch of Hollandaise doesn’t hurt either :-)


“You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!”

— Dr. Seuss (Oh, the Places You’ll Go!)




“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

Dr. Seuss (Horton Hears a Who!)~ yes, my inner four-year-old loves this book. . .




“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”

— Dr. Seuss (Oh the Thinks you Can Think!)





“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Dr. Seuss (Oh, the Places You’ll Go!)




 This makes a fun gift, if you know someone turning 50 this year! Stop by Food for Thought and see what everyone (and their four year old) is reading & eating. . .

The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry




The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry ***** by Kathleen Flinn




I’m joining Jain with my Edible Book Review at Food for Thought, where “pages from your book magically mix with the kitchen and your camera”.





 This was an excellent book, especially for Food for Thought. I devoured it :-) It was a quick read~I was able to finish on recent flight &  while waiting at the airport. It made me laugh out loud, cringe at times, and feel a lot of empathy and admiration for Kathleen, who at the age of 36, decides to make lemonade out of the lemons she’s handed, when her job is eliminated. Following her dream to go to Le Cordon Bleu, she moves to Paris which requires her entire severance package and savings. Against her mother’s advice to get another job immediately, and without the benefit of speaking French, Kathleen embarks on her journey. If you’ve ever made a career change, taken a leap of faith, or just wish you could pick up and move on~ you’ll enjoy this book:


“Life is so much easier when you can wrap yourself within the veil of a big company’s identity. People assume that so much of what you do is who you are, and it’s easy to believe that yourself. There’s a stamp of worth that you get automatically by association.”









 Chef Savard explains how to cut an onion. . .





“So, the sharper your knife, the less you cry.”





“I sink into the water and consider Chef Bertrand’s comment that pastry is like people. You can’t hurry love, and you can’t rush puff pastry, either. You can knead too much, and you can be too needy. Always, warmth is what brings pastry to rise. Chemistry creates something amazing; coupled with care and heat, it works some kind of magic to create this satisfying, welcoming, and nourishing thing that is the base of life.”







Quiche aux Oignons D’or et aux Tomates Rôties
Golden Onion and Roasted Tomato Quiche, recipe here





















Kathleen reminisces about meeting Julia Child at a writer’s conference:


“Just as I sat down, I heard a familiar warble ask, ‘Is this seat taken?’ Julia squeezed her giant frame into the seat next to me. It was as if God Almighty had saddled up on my left. ‘The salmon at breakfast was so good, I had to finish it.’ she whispered in a conspiratorial tone. She took copious notes of the morning’s sessions. As we broke for lunch, she closed her notebook with a satisfied smile.’I always love to come to this workshop. You learn so much.’ she said. This amazed me. After all, she was Julia freakin’ Child. I assumed she knew everything there was to know about food and cooking. I politely told her so. She laughed. ‘Oh, no, you can never know everything about anything, especially something you love.’ she said, patting me on the knee. ‘Besides, I started late.’








There are lots of ups and downs for Kathleen. . . she does has company to commiserate with:  “This isn’t cooking, it’s like learning a complicated sport!” — Kim, a student in Basic Cuisine





“Undeterred, I sign us up online for a promising monthly event. ‘Practice French language skills and meet new friends in a non-threatening environment,’ the description reads. Photos on the site had nothing but smiling, happy people holding up glass of wine or waving at the camera. It turns out to be a horrible blind date with ten people.”








Confit Provençal aux Tomates
Provençal tomato spread, recipe here










“It’s easy to appreciate why sauces developed into one of the distinguishing elements of French cuisine:  a great sauce can hide a host of deficiencies. A bad sauce hides nothing, especially not itself.”




 “Today’s sauce calls for roughly three tablespoons of butter and about a cup of cream. At 55 calories per tablespoon of cream and 90 for the same amount of butter, I calculate that these ingredients alone contain more than 1,500 calories. Perhaps this explains why I’ve gained seven pounds in five weeks.”









“I’ve gone through more than three hundred recipes, ninety lessons, my entire savings, and an incalculable number of calories from fat, cream, and butter. I look at my hands, scarred from a motley assortment of cuts and burns.”






“Everyone learns something different at Le Cordon Bleu, and maybe this is my lesson.” she says. “Sometimes I can’t be the best. Like today. My sauce was fine. It wasn’t the greatest sauce the judges saw, but it was what I could do today. I have to be happy with that.”






“As in cooking, living requires that you taste, taste, taste as you go along–you can’t wait until the dish of life is done. In my career, I always looked ahead to the place I wanted to go, the next rung on the ladder. It reminds me of ‘The Station’ by Robert Hastings, a parable read at our wedding. The message is that while on a journey, we are sure the answer lies at the destination. But in reality, there is no station, no ‘place to arrive at once and for all. The joy of life is the trip, the station is a dream that constantly out distances us.’ How many tears did I cry because I didn’t know what I wanted? ‘The sharper your knife,’ as Chef Savard had said, ‘the less you cry.’ For me it also means to cut those things that get in the way of your passion and of living your life the way it’s meant to be lived. Of course, I also learned to make a mean reduction sauce and to bone an entire chicken without removing the skin, which is nice too.”






For more information on the author, visit her website & blog where you can find a recipe for limoncello out of lemons, rather than lemonade :-)



Be sure to visit Food for Thought and find out what everyone is reading & eating!

Pontoon Picnic

P is for Pontoon Picnic. . .

Jenny Matlock

I’m joining Alphabe-Thursday ~ this week’s letter assignment is the letter P.

 Our picnic paraphernalia was purchased at Kohl’s including the placemats, napkins & napkin Rings, fish bowls & glasses.

 This place setting is not our normal boating picnic fare~ for practical purposes we typically use plastic :-)

  To drink~ Pellegrino. . .

 This Pontoon Picnic wouldn’t be complete without plenty of pillows.

 For the purposes of these photos, we are at our pier, pretending to float on the lake :-)

 For the wine drinkers we are pouring Pinot Grigio~

Our Picnic Menu includes a Turkey Panini with Provolone & PearOrzo Pasta Salad with Pine Nuts, and Prosciutto wrapped Asparagus. . .


This Panini is a combination of provolone, sliced pear, and turkey with apricot mustard. We prefer La Brea Rosemary Olive Oil Bread, which is available at our grocery store.

 This Pasta Salad is one that is light and easy~ adapted from The Fresh Market’s deli department. . . cook your orzo according to the package directions. Add to taste: capers, toasted pine nuts, lemon juice & zest, chopped basil, parmesan,  grape tomatoes & Newman’s Own Parmesan & Roasted Garlic Dressing.


 This Prosciutto Roasted Asparagus is a perfect picnic side and is ready in just 5 minutes. Roast in a 400 degree oven. For Picnic Protocol and food safety tips, you can read here.

Be sure to stop by Jenny Matlock’s Aphabe-Thursday for more alphabet fun and Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday. I’m also joining Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum and Smiling Sally for Blue Monday.

Blue Monday Instructions