Old Familiar Things

With the holidays over and Christmas decorations back in storage for another year, it is comfortable getting back to all those old familiar things that are part of everyday life.

img_8456The breakfast room table is void of trees and snow globes that are replaced with what is left of the flowers the hubby gave me for our anniversary.  They are arranged in an assortment of bottles which make for a simple  and colorful centerpiece.

img_8457The table runner is one I made from a scrap of my handwoven fabric bordered with another remnant.  Sometimes it pays not to throw anything away, but when I go into my studio I wonder how it will be possible to use all that is on the shelves!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith the runner and flowers in place, it was easy to pick everything else.  The dishes are one of my favorites, Tuscany Rose from 222 Fifth.  They’ve been around for a long time, and a few pieces now have chips in them.  I’ll keep using them though until they are no longer presentable.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAdd glasses and flatware,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand in just a few minutes the table is done.  I wish that preparing dinner were that quick and easy!

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Tablescape Thursday

Once, Twice, Maybe Again

fall decor/flowers/tablescapeWhat better way to begin a table than with bunches of fall blooms arranged in bottles from the Dollar Tree and surrounded by a few pumpkins on a paisley runner from TJ Maxx? Together they become a centerpiece reflecting the warmth and texture of the season.

cioppinoWhatever centerpiece is on the table always influences how it is set as well as what will be served. This one makes me think of cioppino, a hearty seafood stew made with all local ingredients and perfect for a chilly night.  (You can find the recipe here.)

tablescapePlaying off the colors of the flowers, these are the dishes and accessories selected.

tablescapeThose of you familiar with my tablescapes know that mixing and matching to add a bit of whimsy and energy is one of my favorite way to dress a table.

tablescapeToo, I keep the setting pretty simple as suits most of the meals I serve and invites people to feel comfortable.

tablescapeNow, this doesn’t happen too often, but we had back to back dinner guests, and I saw no reason to reinvent the wheel.  Centerpiece, placemats, glasses and napkins (clean, of course!) stayed the same and worked perfectly with different dishes and flatware.

tablescapeThe textures and patterns in these pieces gave the table a totally different look to say nothing about how easy the transition was.  I’m thinking that if the flowers last long enough, there could be a third change to this table!

For this dinner, we had pasta topped with a tomato based sauce full of lobster and mussels.  I do love the bounty of Maine!

This is apple picking time, so a dessert made with apples plucked right from the tree is a must this time of year.  This one is an upside down pie made with apples cooked in chai tea.  The taste is delightfully different, one you might want to try.

apple pie1 c. pecans, chopped
1/3 c. butter, melted
1/2 c packed brown sugar
 
2 pie crusts (I use Pillsbury ones to save a little time)
Filling
3 c. peeled, cored and sliced apples
3 T. butter
 
2/3 c. chai tea latte concentrate
Dash each of ground cinnamon and ground cloves
2 T. packed brown sugar
  • Heat oven to 375°F.
  • In 9-inch pie plate, combine pecans, melted butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Place 1 pie crust on top of pecan mixture in pie plate.
  • In 10-inch skillet, cook apples with 3 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat 2 minutes; add the chai tea. Cover; cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add cinnamon and cloves. Drain apples and place in the pie crust; sprinkle 2 tablespoons brown sugar on top.
  • Cover filling with second crust; seal edges and cut a few slits in top crust to allow for venting.
  • Place pie on middle oven rack; place sheet of foil on rack below pie in case of spillover. Bake at 375°F 35 to 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven; immediately turn pie upside down onto serving plate.

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Florentine Style

tablescapeTables in Florence are just my style: simple, set with no fuss.

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Occasionally, tables were covered with a cloth or table runner,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbut most had nothing more than a paper mat.

tablescapeAt home in the apartment, it was easy to follow that lead as there were no linens.  Adding simple arrangements of flowers from the market was about as fancy as it would get.

tablescapeThough I rarely use paper napkins (everyone has their little quirks), they became the norm for our dinners at home which more often than not were for 6 as friends and family joined us. Tied with a scrap of ribbon and with a sprig of rosemary cut from the balcony, paper was quite satisfactory.

tablescapeSometimes a napkin was simply folded on the plate on top of which was a small dipping bowl for olive oil.  The bowls also served as place holders, terra cotta for guys, blue flowers for the ladies.

tablescapeOnce I found wonderful napkin rings in the shape of various herbs, I couldn’t resist using them as a special touch.

tablescapeI rather enjoyed having just one set of dishes which took all the decision making out of setting a table.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd, there was never a time when even the simplest food didn’t look quite appetizing on a white background.

tablescapeAfter a month of experiencing Florentine style, I’ve found that I quite like its understated, comfortable simplicity that is quite a contrast to the city’s beautiful and ornate architecture.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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