Memorial Weekend

“The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it.  And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission.” – John F. Kennedy

Memorial Day Weekend is a special time of remembrance across our land.  It is also the unofficial start to summer and a busy time for many families.  There are cookouts, family gatherings, lake time and beach time.  All translated to, little kitchen time.  So today, I am sending along two wonderful recipes.  Both are easy to prepare and transport, should you need to provide a dish for a gathering.

 

Macaroni Salad (recipe from a Mississippi cookbook)

1 pound elbow macaroni

4 celery hearts, finely chopped

2 medium carrots, grated (1 cup)

1 cup chopped sweet pickles

1/2 small onion, grated

1 (4oz.) jar chopped pimientos, drained

6 hard-boiled eggs, grated

2 cups Hellmann’s mayonnaise

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

1 Tbls. cider vinegar

4 dashes Tabasco sauce

2 Tbls. chopped fresh parsley

2 Tbls. granulated garlic

4 tsp. sugar

2 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. dry mustard

1/2 tsp. salt

Cook the macaroni according to the package instructions.  Drain well and set aside.  In a large bowl, combine the celery, carrots, pickles, onion, pimientos, eggs, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, vinegar, Tabasco, parsley, granulated garlic, sugar, pepper, salt, and dry mustard.  Taste:  You may want to add  a little more salt.  Add the cooked macaroni, toss until well coated.  Refrigerate overnight for flavors to mingle.  Note:  It is important to add the macaroni to the mayo mixture while the macaroni is still warm, so the noodles absorb all the ingredients and flavors.  

Pineapple Cake

Note:  I have made this recipe sine the early 1970’s.  The recipe was distributed in the school district where I worked, by the school nurses association.  You will note there is no butter or oil in the cake.  Also, it is so easy to prepare because you mix it by hand, you use only one bowl and you don’t even have to grease the baking pan.  It doesn’t get any easier and it is delicious. It tastes very much like a Pineapple Upside Down Cake.  It is a wonderful cake to take to a gathering, just cover with foil and go.

Preheat oven to 350

2 eggs

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1 (20 oz.) can of crushed pineapple, undrained

2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp. baking soda

Be sure to mix this cake by hand.  In a large bowl, beat eggs, with a fork.  Stir in sugars and undrained pineapple.  Stir in flour and baking soda. Mix well.  Pour into an ungreased 13×9 inch baking dish.  Bake in preheated oven at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Frosting

3 oz. cream cheese

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups confectioners sugar

Mix cream cheese and butter with mixer.  Add vanilla, gradually add the sugar. Spread on cooled cake.  Note:  This makes a thin layer of frosting, but enough.  If you prefer a thicker frosting, simply double the frosting ingredients.

This weekend take a moment to remember, and be grateful, for the many who have sacrificed to ensure our freedom.  

  Have a beautiful weekend, and be safe in your travels.

Au Revoir,

Sandra

Photo:  Pinterest

The Allure of Beautiful Linens

“To love beautiful linen, is to love fair weather, fair weather that one can acquire and carry home.” – Louise DeVilmorin

I have always been in love with beautiful linens, specifically French linens.   And, finding them over the years while antiquing would always make me giddy as a school girl.  However, I rather like to think they found me.  I believe when we have an appreciation for specific things, they somehow work their way onto our path so we can “carry them home.”

Today, I want to share a beautiful find – Saphyr Pure Linen, French linen. 


 
Saphyr photos

The person behind Saphyr Pure Linen is Rory O’Mara. Rory was the Director of International Fashion Marketing at Cotton Incorporated  for many years. During  her years of traveling she learned Europeans are fond of, and have the luxury of dressing their beds with beautiful linen. Nothing compares to the softness of French linen.

 

Linen is made from the fibers of the flax plant, and just as a point of interest, Saphyr is the common name for the bloom on the plant.  Rory obtains the linen for Saphyr from the area it is grown and milled, specifically from the coast of Belgium, into France, and on through the Normandy region. Upon the touch of French linen you immediately know you have something quite different and special.  The more linen bedding is used and washed, the softer, stronger, and more supple it becomes. In other words, it becomes better with age.  Also, linen is mildew and moth resistant, non-static, and lint-free.  While it is more costly than cotton bedding, if properly laundered,  it will serve you well for decades.  

The French not only spoil themselves by dressing their beds in beautiful linen, they also dress them quite differently than many Americans.  Actually, they are artfully layered, paying great attention to detail.  First, a stuffed and quilted mattress pad tops the mattress, followed by two flat linen sheets (the French are not accustomed to fitted sheets).  Last, a blanket covered by another sheet.  In the winter months the blanket is replaced by a couette (comforter) which is filled with duvet.  Duvet or down, comes from the soft feathery underbellies of geese.  The couette has its own covering, often referred to as a duvet cover.  When the middle sheet is folded back, it most always reveals an embroidered monogram or family crest.  This is embroidered with great care in order for it to be easily read standing at the foot of the bed.

A French bed would not be completely dressed without un traversin – a long firm pillow (round bolster) which spans the width of the mattress.  The traversin may also be wrapped in a blanket cover or in its own, specially made case and will always support European square pillows (26″ x 26″).  Additionally, the European square pillows are often embellished or monogrammed.

 

The French are famous for their love of home and striving to acquire the best. They will save their pennies for fine workmanship, rather than to quickly squander their funds on anything not of quality. This very attention to detail is what makes Saphyr Pure Linen special.  So today, I am offering you a treat.  A GIVEWAY !  A standard/queen size set of Saphyr Pure Linen pillowcases in fresh white.   To enter:  Complete one of the following sentences.

A.   I love linen because…  

B.  I am interested in linen because…

All entries must be received by Friday, May 26, 2017.  Leave your answer to the sentence, along with your first name under the comment section of the blog.  The winner will be announced on Tuesday, May 30, 2017.

Thanks for visiting, enjoy your week !

Au Revoir

Sandra

Notes:  This post was not sponsored by Saphyr Linen.  Although, I greatly appreciate their assistance with photos and information regarding Saphyr.  All photos used in this post are with permission of Saphyr Pure Linen.  To order from Saphyr Pure Linen or to visit their website go to:  https://saphyrpurelinen.com/  You will be glad you did!

 

 

Recipes for the Weekend and ….

“I want to put in an order for two bottles of champagne and some morel mushrooms – that’s what I fancy for some reason…”  – Claude Monet, to his wife, in a letter from Italy.

While the morel mushrooms and champagne do sound lovely, today I am sending along an appetizer and a quiche recipe.  Both are easy to prepare and nice for the weekend.  The appetizer recipe is from,  “Monet’s Palate Cookbook.”  The appetizer and a salad make for a lovely dinner, by themselves.  And, served in the garden – quite special.

 

Smoked Salmon, Goat Cheese, Thyme and Chive Spread (“Monet’s Palate Cookbook.”)

Note:  If serving this as an appetizer, I would suggest a light sparkling wine such as Prosecco.  Should you be serving this to go along with a salad for dinner – see the suggested quiche wine parings wines below.

1 1/2 cups fresh goat cheese, at room temperature

3 Tbls. half-and-half

2 Tbls. snipped fresh chives

1 Tbls. chopped fresh thyme

1 tsp. finely chopped lemon peel (I used zest of 1 lemon)

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1/4 pound Norwegian smoked salmon slices, roughly chopped

1 baguette, thinly sliced and toasted

Place goat cheese, half-and-half, chives, thyme, lemon peel, salt and pepper in a medium-size bowl.  Using a wooden spoon, mix well.  Add salmon and fold in.   Spread onto toasted baguette slices. Note: Can be prepared 1 day ahead.  Cover and refrigerate.  Bring to room temperature before serving.

Crustless Bacon and Gruyere Quiche

6 slices bacon

1/2 cup chopped green onions (green parts included)

4 cloves garlic, minced

6 large eggs

3/4 cup whole milk

2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 crushed pepper flakes

fresh basil leaves for garnish

Preheat oven to 375.  Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crispy.  Remove from skillet and drain, reserving about 2 Tbls. of bacon grease in skillet. Crumble bacon and set aside.  Add onion and garlic to skillet.  Cook over medium heat 1 minute.  Remove from heat.

Combine eggs and milk in a large bowl; whisk until well blended.  Add bacon, onion mixture, cheese, salt, and pepper flakes.  Spray 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray. Pour mixture into pie plate.  Bake for 30 minutes or until egg mixture is set.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.  Garnish with basil leaves. Note:  I bake this on the next to bottom rack in the oven.

Bon Appetit !

Quiche,wine suggestions:  Josh Sauvignon Blanc or Whispering Angel Rose

Special Note:  Be sure to read next week’s blog post.  You don’t want to miss, some exciting news!

Thanks for visiting, have a beautiful weekend !

Au Revoir

Sandra

Photo:  starsmasquerading.tumblr.com/pinterest, photo of quiche/pinterest

“Beauty Inspires Our Joy of Living”

“I feel very strongly we are spiritual beings in a physical body, and we should make our surroundings as beautiful and soulful as possible.” – Alexandra Stoddard

Has something ever occurred in your life, which surprised you, resulted in you taking a second look or perhaps made you think, “Was this meant to happen?” Certainly, it has happened to me – many times.  But, one such particular instance was life changing for me.  

One day, while I was browsing in my favorite book store, a book fell from the shelf just above where I was standing.  I am certain I was meant to read this particular book, “Open Your Eyes,”  along with many others written by the fabulously talented, Alexandra Stoddard. You see, Alexandra’s writing speaks to me.  And,when you come upon an author who makes you feel as though he or she is in the room, speaking only to you, well,  you have magic.  A connection. But, the day the book fell into my hands, I had no idea of  the connection Alexandra and I would actually make several years later.

My goodness, her wonderful book, “Open Your Eyes,”  did indeed, open my eyes to the importance of beauty in our daily lives.  Through this book, I learned the extraordinary impact beautiful details make in our homes.  Also, I became completely aware of the significant difference such details add to our daily rounds, and by our attention to these details we also enrich the lives of those we love. But most of all I would say, “Alexandra opened my eyes and my heart to the joy of beauty.” Something I was aware of, but did not fully understand or realize its significance.  Although, in time I would learn.

Going forward a few years:  My husband and I returned to the small town in West Virginia where we both were raised.   Once settled, I became active in a local garden club and was asked to serve as programs chairperson.   As I began to think of interesting programs for our club, I felt it was also necessary to schedule programs which related to the specific mission of a garden club.  And that is:   To educate its members and the public, by encouraging beautification of home and community.

All this being said, in a club board meeting, ideas were being tossed about for an event.  A special event, not only for our members, but one which the club would also open to the general public.  The board members wanted someone who could speak about beauty and its importance in a community.  Clearly, I do know you felt the earth shake a bit on that day several years ago. Because, that was when I spoke up and said, “How about engaging Alexandra Stoddard as a speaker?”  And, as the saying goes, “The rest is history.”

On a magnificent day in April of 2008, in Clarksburg, West Virginia, our humble garden club presented – “An Afternoon With Alexandra Stoddard.”  Truly, it was beautiful, I wish you could have been there.  Glorious flowers were everywhere, lilacs were at every entrance to the building and lovely music played softly in the background. This memorable affair was attended by over 250 people and drew attendees from all over West Virginia, neighboring Pennsylvania and Virginia.  And, all these wonderful people came to hear Alexandra’s talk , “Beauty Inspires Our Joy of Living.”

  

Was it a coincidence that the entire weekend was perfectly beautiful?  I think not. You see, God sent an angel to deliver a message and she did.  As I looked around the auditorium, I did not see too many dry eyes as everyone sat attentively, listening to Alexandra speak. Because she is so real, her sincerity and knowledge comes streaming through, right to your heart.  She touches you in a way that is unforgettable.  

Alexandra is all about beauty in our lives, our homes, the way we live, how we treat others – she radiates beauty!  Not only does she completely understand the joy of beauty, she is magnificent at teaching it as well.  She really is a gifted soul and God showered his blessing on me, by placing Alexandra in my path.

The weekend spent with Alexandra and her husband, Peter, was a magical time for myself and my husband.  Following her talk, the four of us enjoyed a long, marvelous dinner together.  It was wonderful hearing about their lives and the people, places and things they hold dear.  Such a grand time. I gained much more than I am capable of putting into words.

I have remained in contact with Alexandra. And, my heart beats a little faster when I see that French blue envelope in our mail.  I also keep up with her through her monthly newsletter on her website, www.alexandrastoddard.com.  She lives in her cherished village of Stonnington Village, Connecticut, where she remains ever so busy writing her next book. Soon, I hope we know a few details.  

Sadly, Alexandra lost her beloved Peter on September 25, 2014.   He was 92.  But through their deep and great love for each other, she continues to “Love and Live Happy.”  She once said, “Let there be happiness in my soul, and let me share it with the world.”  She has and she continues to share happiness every day.  

So, if you have ever wondered why I stand on my little box and preach about beauty and the ripple effect it can have in our world, now you know.  I had, and continue to have, a magnificent teacher.  A teacher who is endless inspiration.  So, from Alexandra, to me, to you, and so on and so forth – beauty can and will change the world.   It is our responsibility to make it happen.  So, as my mother would say, “We must get to it.” 

PS:  Do yourself a favor and read anything by Alexandra Stoddard – you will be happy you did.  (A very short bio of Alexandra Stoddard is listed below)

Priceless Photo: Alexandra at the book signing, feeding her beloved Peter a cookie. I wish you could have seen them together  – pure LOVE.

Thanks for visiting – Have a Beautiful Week!

Au Revoir,

Sandra

Photos: Book cover and Alexandra in her garden, Pinterest

All other photos by, Michael S. Lambiotte

Short Bio of Alexandra Stoddard

Alexandra Stoddard is a philosopher of contemporary living, an interior designer and author of over 25 books. Alexandra has a passion for gardens, flowers and is an inspiring teacher of how beauty adds to our joy for living.  Alexandra believes we each have a responsibility to do all that we can to enrich our communities.  Her unique insights reveal the small but significant things we can do to change our attitude, heart, and environment.

Alexandra was the first recipient of a full scholarship at the New York School of Interior Design, and was the first female member of the Board of Directors of  Fieldcrest Cannon, Inc.  She has decorated the interiors of mansions, embassies and cottages throughout the United States and Europe.  She was the owner of Alexandra Stoddard, Incorporated, a Manhattan, New York based interior design firm.

She is the mother of two grown daughters and was married to Peter Megargee Brown, until his death in 2014.

Le Menu – Mother’s Day Luncheon

“Who can find a virtuous woman?  For her price is far above rubies.” – Proverbs 31:10

Mother’s Day is such a special day, one full of love and wonderful memories. Certainly not a day to be in the kitchen. However, if you are blessed beyond measure to have your mother living and well, there is no place you can spoil her quite like you can in your home.  So, perhaps you may want to host a lovely, but easy, luncheon. After all, home is where everyone is comfortable, the food is always great, and most important – home is where the best of memories are made.

All this being said, today I am sending along a menu and make ahead recipes.  So you, too, can enjoy the day.  The menu has been planned for you.  You just need to check the ingredients and shop.  And, you have plenty of time.  

Le Menu

Rhubarb-Strawberry Fizz

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Curried Deviled Eggs

Virginia Crab Imperial

Basil-Parmesan Rolls

Strawberry Cake

Rhubarb-Strawberry Fizz (makes about 3 quarts)

5 1/2 cups water

1 3/4 cups sugar

6 cups chopped fresh rhubarb

4 cups fresh strawberries, halved

1 (1-liter) bottle sparkling water, chilled

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (must be fresh squeezed)

Garnish:  fresh strawberries and lemon slices

In a Dutch oven, bring water and sugar to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Add rhubarb and strawberries; simmer until tender, about 25 minutes.  Do not stir – the rhubarb will become mushy and thick, if stirred and it will be difficult to strain.  Remove from heat; let cool completely.  Strain, discarding solids. Just prior to serving, in a pitcher combine cooled rhubarb mixture, sparkling water and lemon juice. Serve over ice, garnish with strawberries and lemon slices.  Note:  This is better if the rhubarb mixture is refrigerated overnight as it will be more flavorful.

Strawberry Spinach Salad – Serves 6 (I always double the salad and dressing recipe)

10 ounces fresh baby spinach, rinsed dried and torn into bite-size pieces

1/4  small red onion, thinly sliced

1 quart fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

pecans (coarsley chopped) and blue cheese crumbles

In a large bowl combine spinach, onions, strawberries and blueberries.  Pour just enough dressing (recipe follows)  over the salad to moisten as you toss.  Place the salad in your serving dish, top with pecans and blue cheese crumbles.   Place extra dressing in a serving container to serve along side. 

Dressing 

2 Tbls. sugar

1/4 cup extra light olive oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 Tbls. Dijon

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper and 1/4 tsp. paprika

Whisk all ingredients together and set aside.

Curried Deviled Eggs

12 large hard cooked eggs, halved lengthwise

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 tsp. curry powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. onion powder

1/8 tsp. ground red pepper

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Remove egg yolks, and place in a medium bowl; reserve egg whites.  Add mayonnaise, curry powder, salt, onion powder, red pepper and black pepper to egg yolks;  mash with a fork, then whisk until smooth.  Spoon mixture into egg whites.  Sprinkle with paprika.  Cover and refrigerate until chilled – preferably overnight.

Virginia Crab Imperial ( Careful, Guests may prefer this to dessert.)

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 tsp. dry mustard

dash of white pepper

2 pounds backfin crabmeat

4 Tbls. pimento, chopped

2 1/4 cups mayonnaise

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350.  Beat the eggs with mustard and pepper.  Add crabmeat, pimento and 2 cups mayonnaise.  Spoon the mixture into a 2 quart casserole (lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray) and spread 1/4 cup mayonnaise over the top.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake for about 20 minutes until brown and bubbly.  Serves 8.

Notes:  I usually bake this for 30 minutes.  This can be prepared the morning of your event and refrigerated.  Then, just prior to serving time, pop it in the oven and the result is something lovely and easy.

Basil-Parmesan Rolls

1 (16-ounce) box hot roll mix – I use Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix

1 cup chopped fresh basil

1 cup hot water – 120-130 degree temperature 

2 Tbls. unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

1 large egg

2 Tbls. Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray 12 muffin cups with baking spray with flour.  In a large bowl, combine hot roll mix and yeast included with the mix; stir well.  Add basil, hot water, butter, and egg; stir until a soft dough forms.  Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Cover dough with a bowl; let stand for 5 minutes.  Divide dough into 12 equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball.  Place in prepared muffin cups.  Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (around 75 degrees) until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.  Uncover; sprinkle with cheese and salt.  Bake until golden brown, 16 to 18 minutes.  Let cool in pans for 5 minutes.  Remove from pans, and cool completely on a wire rack.  Store in an airtight container (I use a zip lock bag). These can be re-heated in the microwave just before serving or served at room temperature. They are delicious either way.

Strawberry Cake

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs, separated

4 cups cake flour

1 Tbls. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup whole milk

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 325.  Spray 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with baking spray with flour.  In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with a mixer a medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl.  Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. In a large bowl, beat egg whites with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form.  Gently stir one-third of egg whites into batter; fold in remaining egg whites.  Spoon batter into prepared pans.  Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes.  Let cool in pans for 10 minutes.  Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.  Spread Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting between layers, on top and sides of cake.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 /3 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled

1/4 tsp. almond extract

1 (2 pound) package confectioners’ sugar

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter with a mixer at medium speed until creamy.  In the container of blender, puree strawberries until smooth.  Measure out 1/3 cup puree (reserve remainder for another use), and add puree and almond extract to cream cheese mixture, beating until combined.  Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth.

Enjoy the recipes and Bon Appetit! 

Do know, I am sending you Beautiful wishes for a Beautiful Mother’s Day !

Special Note:  The flowers today are in memory of my mother. Mom was born and raised in the state of Mississippi and the magnolia is the Mississippi state flower. She was always given to tears at the sight of a magnolia, and I am too.

Au Revoir,

Sandra

All recipes from Southern Lady Magazine, except for:  Spinach salad and Va. Crab Imperial

photo:  pinterest

Joie de Vivre – Joy of Life

“It was a good time to start something new.  We have two lives, and the second starts when you realize that you have only one.” –  Isabelle Dubois-Dumee

We all have those little things, positive and negative, that trigger our response buttons.  For each of us these things will be different, but when we hear, see or smell them – our hearts pound a little harder.  Also, our response buttons can be easily pushed, when we are reminded of a long held, “maybe someday” dream, or perhaps when we have been treated badly once too often.  Whatever the case may be, our hearts pound as though they are trying to speak to us.  Well, my friends, that is exactly what they are trying to do.  Or, as my mom would always say, “trust your instincts they are the ANGELS whispering in your ear.”

So, what do the ANGELS whisper in your ear?  Mine are constantly chatting.  So much so,  at times I can hardly sleep.  And, when I am in the garden they feel they have my attention – and they do.  But, the point is:  I am learning to listen.  I listened when the whisper said – “write something, do something to help others see the beauty in the world, learn something new, make new friends, share what you know – go inspire.”  And, so I am trying to do just that very thing, here at Where Inspiration Blooms.

While blogging is new to me and I do not claim to be a professional writer, I sincerely want to share with you my love of beauty, the garden, home, French food and French design, experiences from my life and from all the many wonderful, good people who have graciously blessed my life.  And, the lessons learned from the hurtful ways of those who were unkind.  I want my experiences to bless and inspire you.  

You see, I believe much of what we learn in this life, we learn from each other.  We all have unique talents.  However, far too often, many talented individuals go through this wonderful life without knowing their gifts and, therefore, are unable to share them.  Many, have those special dreams and gifts tucked away so deep they might not recognize them, should they be brought to the surface.  The result: These marvelous talents have been unable to bloom and the beauty of the bloom has not been scattered.  Indeed a loss, and the world suffers from such losses.

Spring is such an appropriate time for growth in our lives.    Bring that long held dream to the surface and give it life.  Take a class.  Embark upon new endeavors. And, when you find something which sparks your interest – learn everything possible about it, read, educate yourself.  Do not let your unique talents go to waste.  And, never let the opinions of others dim your spirit or keep you from doing everything you were meant to do.  One life – find your joy!  

Thanks for visiting – wishing you and yours a lovely weekend.

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

 

Photo:  Debra Slohon Shielman Roses/Pinterest

A Garden of Meanings

“Gardens are poems where you stroll with your hands in your pockets.” – Pierre Albert Birot

Were you aware flowers have meanings?  They do.  The Victorians were ever so mindful about their meanings, especially in the use of a Tussie-Mussie.  A tussie-mussie, is a romantic bouquet.  Discreet and knowledgeable young ladies and gentlemen would correspond with one another by this means.  And in doing so, they were quite careful to use specific flowers according to their meaning.  

A single flower or a tiny bouquet would be sent to or from an admirer.  A young man may send a sprig of honeysuckle meaning – I have devoted affections.  The young lady may reciprocate, depending on her feelings, by sending a pansy saying,  “I, too, have tender thoughts.”   

While we no longer communicate in such ways, I will tell you I do believe our world could use use a little romance.  So, just in case you don’t have, at your fingertips, a little book on the language of flowers.  I am sending you a few flowers and their meanings. 

Anemone – Desertion

Bachelor Button – Hope in Love

Bluebell – Delicacy

Columbine – Capriciousness

Coreopsis – Forever Cheerful

Daisy – Innocence

Freesia – Innocence

Forget-me-not – True Love

Honeysuckle – Devoted Affections

Lily-of-the-valley – Return of Happiness

Pansy – Tender Thoughts

Red Rose – Love

Snapdragon – Presumption

Thyme – Thriftiness

Yellow Rose – Friendship

Zinnia – Simplicity

And, of course you want to know about the peony.  In my opinion, the peony is the queen of the garden – she is the star.

 The meaning of a peony – Bashfulness

While I am over the moon about peonies, many flower lovers feel the same about roses.  One such remarkable person was Helen Keller.  The following are her inspirational thoughts – clearly, she understood ” A Garden of Meanings.” 

“But the roses they were loveliest of all.  Never have I found in the greenhouses of the North such heart-satisfying roses as the climbing roses of my southern home. They used to hang in long festoons from our porch, filling the whole air with their fragrance, untainted by any earthy smell:  and in the early morning, washed in the dew, they felt so soft, so pure, I could not help wondering if they did not resemble the asphodels of God’s garden.”  

Wishing you and yours simply glorious days during this magnificent month of May.

Thanks for visiting!

Au Revoir,

Sandra 

Photos:  Tusie-Musie:  facebook/pinterest

Peony: behance/pinterest

Roses: watercolorflorals.blogspot.uk/pinterest

Le Menu

“Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy.  And cooking done with care is an act of love.”  – Craig Clairborne

Once again, the weekend is here.  And, to me it seems like yesterday was Monday morning – you too?  So, any thoughts to the weekend menu?  

This is the time of year we want to simply enjoy the moments – spring only arrives once a year.  Hopefully, you are promised beautiful weather for the upcoming weekend in your area. Beautiful weather translates to time outdoors – enjoying the season.  So, today I am sending you a couple of make ahead recipes, perfect for a busy (not stressful) weekend.

To me, it is magical to pull dinner from the refrigerator. It makes me feel as though a magic wand was waved over our home.   Surely, you feel that way too.  This salad, pulled from the refrigerator, served with a nice bread and wine, is lovely for dinner on a spring evening.  And I promise, you will love me for the dessert recipe – so easy and delicious.  

Orzo, Tomato, and Shrimp Salad

Note:  Best when prepared and chilled at least 4 hours or overnight.  Perfect, when made in the morning to serve for dinner that evening.  

Ingredients 

4 ((14.5 – oz.) cans chicken broth

1 (16-oz.) package orzo pasta

1 pound medium shrimp, boiled, peeled, and deveined

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (I like to mix the colors)

2 orange tomatoes, chopped

1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (not bottled)

1/4 cup red-wine vinegar

1 tsp grated lemon zest

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

Directions:  In medium saucepan, bring chicken broth to boil over high heat.  Stir in pasta.  Cook for 8 minutes; drain.  In a large bowl, combine pasta, shrimp, tomatoes, onion and basil.  In a small bowl, combine oil and the remaining ingredients, whisk well.  Pour over pasta mixture; toss gently to combine.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Serve with a nice crusty bread and a white wine, such as a Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.

Dessert

Honey Vanilla Framage Blanc

2 – 8oz. Framage Blanc or the same amount of Plain Greek Yoguart (I use Greek Yoguart)

2 Tbls. Heavy cream

1/4 cup Honey

2 tsp. vanilla, plus the seeds from 1 vanilla bean

1/4 tsp. lemon zest – do not skip 

Your favorite berries – We love strawberries

Mix all the ingredients together and chill all day or over night.  Serve in  pretty cups or dish and top with your favorite berries.    See, I told you it was easy !

Thanks for visiting.  Wishing you and yours a beautiful weekend – Bon Appetit !

Au Revoir,

Sandra

Recipes:  Orzo, Tomato, and Shrimp Salad – 2006 issue of Taste of the South

Honey Vanilla Framage Blanc – Ina Garten

Photo:  Aileen Allen at home in love/Pinterest

 

The Power of One

“Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world.” – Roald Dahl

Many times in this life, things have come to my attention and stirred me to see them in a new light.  Conceivably, a lesson to be learned.  Perhaps this has happened to you, too?  

The majority of these lessons have really been gifts.  Because, you see, I believe each time our eyes are opened to see something in a new way, we grow – our vision is expanded.  We think differently, we feel differently and we behave differently.  A gift.   And, by these precious gifts, we can inspire others.  “The Power of One.”

During the past few years, I have seen enough “ugly” to last several lifetimes.  I would wager you feel the same.  It seems as though “ugly” is at our every turn – television, newspapers, magazines, social media and too often, in people who cross our paths.  And to me, even worse, we see it from those who hold public office, highly paid professional athletes – people who are in positions to set examples for all of us, especially our youth.   So, how in the world do we reverse the course?  

If you look for just a moment at the magnificent peony above; clearly you can easily see the impact it would have in any room it was placed.  The power of one glorious bloom lights an entire space – WOW.  I like to think each of us represents this beautiful peony.  As individuals with unique talents, we have the power to light up our own corners of the world.  We are each – one fabulous bloom. And, we each have the power to transform “ugly” to kindness and good – really we do.

With all my heart, I believe there is something very real afoot for a dynamic shift toward beauty, kindness and compassion.  Becoming inspired, so as to inspire. When we share our unique talents, do small things for others, show kindness to strangers and those less fortunate, raise our voices when necessary, love “all creatures great and small,” we will begin to see a shift.  And the shift in our small circles will be transferred to others.  Thus, the ripple effect of our individual deeds.  “The Power of One.” 

And, what inspires us, motivates us and moves us along on this journey? For each of us the answer will be different.   But, I truly believe the words of Susan Branch – “Hearts Can Inspire Other Hearts With Their Fire.”  1×1

Thanks for visiting – wishing you a beautiful week!

Au Revoir,

Sandra

Note:  Coming soon, a promised post – Alexandra Stoddard, amazing inspiration. 

Photo:  Pinterest

Weekend Wishes

“You haven’t really experienced a garden until you have slept in it, seen it, that is, in light fading to extinction, explored it at night with hesitant steps, and watched it come awake to birdsong at dawn.”  – Hugh Johnson

This weekend, may you find peaceful, quiet hours to restore your soul – time to “be.”

  Do  enjoy these glorious days.  I hope you will be surprised by magnificent beauty, “birdsong” and JOY !

Au Revoir,

Sandra

Photo: Facebook