Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Beauty in Blue has arrived!

I am so excited, the time has finally come! Karen Hillman and her group will be arriving tomorrow and we have a full week planned!

Wednesday, Karen and Sherry arrive and the 3 of us will be getting things ready for the rest of the group.

Thursday, we will pick up 9 ladies from the airport and spend the afternoon at Simplici Tea's Tea Room and Lone Star Antique Mall in Watauga. Then we will head to Ruby Ellen's to see Deidra and Debbie and spend time shopping at her very cute, vintage clothing and boutique store.
Thursday evening we will have a nice dinner at the retreat. On the menu is homemade spinach/basil pesto with penne, salad, bread and cheesecake for dessert.

Friday, we will be headed to Canton for a day of shopping and fun with Cathy at Girls Gone Junkin and Jackie at Urban Gypsy Rags, just to name a couple.
Dinner will be fish en papillote, asparagus, salad and lemon tarts for dessert.

Saturday, will be filled with lovely projects by Molly Knox and Karen Hillman.
Lunch will be a boxed lunch with an egg salad sandwich, pound cake, angel food cake, fresh berries and sorority punch.
Dinner will be a down home Texas style BBQ with chicken, brisket, sausage, potato salad, baked beans, bread, triple berry cobbler and smores` fixings by camp fire.
During dinner we will have live entertainment by Wade Hawthorne.

Sunday, we will have a nice relaxing breakfast at the retreat before heading to Little Blue House where Tracy and Susan will teach a wonderful quilt project. We will have a boxed lunch with a chicken salad croissant, chips and cupcakes from Sugar and Frosting.
Sunday afternoon will be spent shopping at Southlake Town Center and afterwards a wonderful dinner at Trulucks.
That evening we will head to Oak Street Cottage and will be staying with Mrs. Mary Davis the wonderful Inn Keeper.

Monday will be a farewell departure for Karen and her beauties! Be watching for pictures and stories from our group on our web page under news and on FB.

Friday, February 15, 2013

My new car

Hi everyone,

If anyone knows me very well, then they know I keep cars FOREVER..... It was time to retire my Oldsmobile Alero! I had her for 13 years and it was time.

I am so excited to have my new car, a Kia Soul. I have the Titanium color, black leather enterior, power windows, power locks and a keless entry, blue tooth, (again, if anyone knows me knows that none of my cars have had that, LOL).

I have always been just a basic, simple girl when it comes to cars. Something to get me from A to B.

HMMM, a walk down memory lane. My first car and probably my favorite until now was a Pontiac Lamanse Le Hatchback, Red and Black. Love it!!

Bought it when I was 16 and was FORCED to trade it in when I was pregnant for a 4 door Dodge Neon (yuck). My now ex husban'ds family owned a Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep dealership and he thought I needed to drive the families brand... I will just say, I hated the Iris colored (light purple) Dodge Neon...

My 3rd car was the Oldsmobile mini van that I soon traded for the Oldsmobile Alero (I am not a mini van soccer Mom). Have never liked mini vans, not sure why, just not for me. I enjoyed my Alero, it was just time to retire.

So, now it's the Kia Soul (not my dream car/ Mini Cooper) but it will have to do for now. One day when I am not having to shuffel people here and there or large amounts of food then the Mini will be in my drive way~ it may be considered a classic by then but that's okay. I think for now my dream car will be named Britt...

So, what was your fist car?? Do you remember the smell? the paint color etc? Would love to hear what your first and dream car is.. Do you name your car?? I never have, but my sister has named all of hers. I think that's cute.. Maybe I should name the Kia, what do you think? Taking suggestions for my new ride.

See you soon! Stacy

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pecan Praline Cheesecake with Chocolate Ganache

1 1/2 cups vanilla wafers- crushed
1/2 cup finely chopped pretzels
1/2 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350
In a medium bowl, combine vanilla wafers, pretzels, pecans, butter, egg and mix until well combined. press into a 9 inch spring form pan. Bake for 6 minutes- Let cool. Wrap with several layers of heavy duty foil (this will keep water from coming up the sides and into the cheesecake).

Pecan Praline Filling
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
2/3 cup dark corn syrup
1/3 cup melted butter
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp salt

In a saucepan, combine all ingredients, bring to a boil, stirring constantly- reduce to simmer and cook 8-10 minutes until thickened. Pour into crust and let cool.

Cheesecake Filling
3 (8oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups firmly placked dark brown sugar
2 TB all purpose flour
4 large eggs
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until creamy. Add sour cream, and beat until smooth. Add brown sugar and flour, beat until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time and mix until well combined. Stir in vanilla and and cream. Pour over the praline topping.

Place the spring form pan (wrapped in foil) into a large roasting pan. Pour cold water into roasting pan to come up half way. Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the water for 1 hour. Remove spring form pan and place on cooling rack.  Run a knife around spring form pan to loosten the cheesecake/ remove the pan.

Chocolate Ganache
10 oz bittersweet chocolate chips, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 TB unsalted butter
1 TB light corn syrup

In a small sauce pan heat the cream, butter, and corn syrup over medium high heat until mixture boils. Pour over chocolate, whisking to comibine. Pour mixture over top of the cheesecake and use a spatula to spread if needed. Allow to cool 30 minutes.

Place in refrigirator over night ~ Enjoy~

Friday, February 8, 2013

Building Addition

Our Architect brought out the first set of plans yesterday. Let's just say it's back to the drawing board. There is a huge difference between women's and men's ideas.... With that being said, it's going to be at least another week before we know anything. So far the plans  look great, he added a HUGE kitchen/dining area, but only enough cropping room for 8 people at 4' tables... We told him we need cropping room for 16 people each to have 6' tables... He added 2 sleeping areas, 2 bathrooms, and a lot of storage along with a big porch.

Over dinner last night we sat and talked about what is needed and the things that he needs to change and we followed up with an email to him... Basic needs are; Cropping room for 16 with 6' tables, small kitchen area and dinning space, sleeping area for 8 people, 2 bathrooms (ADA), 36" doors. Easy enough, let's see what next week holds (while holding my breath)!

I don't know about all of you, but I am very excited to see what the plans are and what's in store for our future!

Until next weeks building addition news- keep cropping and have a GREAT week! 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Carolina Biscuits and Tomato Gravy

Yummy Carolina Biscuits (cream cheese biscuits)

16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 and 1/3 cup butter, softened
2 Cups self rising Flour

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the cream cheese and butter until well combined. Add the flour and pulse until it forms a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it chill.

Pat out biscuits to desired thickness/ cut with a biscuit cutter and place on a stone or cookie sheet. Bake at in a preheated oven at 425 until golden brown.

Tomato Gravy

Another favorite by my guests; This is an old recipe that my Grandmother use to make while I was growing up and visiting her in Florida. It's a southern recipe, most found in Alabama, Mississippi, Lousiana and Florida. It's cream gravy/ with thinly sliced tomatoes in it.

For best results on gravy- Use bacon grease as your base/ aprox 3 TB grease to 3 TB flour. You want to make sure your grease is hot, add your flour and stir until it's all combined. If it's a really thick paste add a little more grease. You want to be able to stir this. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir until it's a nice golden color (this is called a roux). Add your milk/ I use half milk and half heavy cream (about 2 cups). Stir until well combined and let your gravy come to a boil, stirring often.. Now reduce to low and let it simmer while everything else is cooking.. Best resutls for gravy, the longer it cooks the better it is. Once you have it at the desired consistancy/ add thinly sliced tomatoes and let it simmer. Add milk if needed. Right before serving/ place 1TB butter in gravy and stir, this gives it the nice shiny, silky texture.

Gravy is one of those things that takes lots of practice. The more you make it, the better it becomes.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Weddings, Receptions and Love

Good morning,

What a beautiful Saturday we are having at the retreat!

I am honored that a beautiful couple thinks our place would be a GREAT venue for a fall, country, vintage wedding. I will be giving this wonderful couple a tour of our place today.

We have been wanting to create a magical place for weddings/receptions and formal events. I have been compiling lots of ideas on Pinterest for  special events. I can't wait to hear their ideas and if they plan on setting a date.

I don't know about all of you, but I LOVE weddings! They are such a joyous occassion, bringing family and friends together to celebrate love.

We have had 2 weddings and a reception at our retreat and all were beautiful and fun in their own way. The most special was seeing my Mom marry her soul mate under the big tree in the front yard. It's hard to believe that Mom and John have been married almost 17 years. I love to watch them, it's like being in high school. There is nothing more romantic than seeing your parents kiss, hug and hold hands. They share a very special love that most only dream about. I am thankful to have them as reminder that fairy tales do come true!

Justin and I had our reception around the pool area with family and friends prior to our wedding. We were married on a cruise and wanted something relaxing and fun before the big day. It was also beautiful and very memorable. Like my Mom, I am very lucky to have fallen in love with my soul mate. Each day it's a reminder of God's plan. Sometimes things don't work out for reasons unknown to us/ but Thank God he knows what he's doing. This year will be our 4th wedding anniversary, it feels like yesterday!

Spring and Summer is definitely the wedding season! What special memories do you have of your big day? As we are approaching Valentines Day, remember that special person in your life.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Ready For Spring Time!

Spring reminds me of butterflies, light rain, fresh air, and all the beautiful flowers in bloom.

This time of year is when we start trimming back the Knock Out Roses that are all around our pool area. They are stunning from spring to fall. My Mom loves to landscape, plant new iris and work in her garden. I think it relaxes her to dig in the dirt (even though she has never said that).

I have been thinking about my new house and the garden area I want. Gardening has never been one of those things I have enjoyed, for most it's a labor of love. I can appreciate all the time spent in the garden, fertilizing, digging, trimming, watering, pulling weeds and grass, it's truly a LOT of work. I like to sit back when it's done and take in the beauty of it all. Over the last few years I have helped my Mom and it is very rewarding to see the end result.

At our retreat we are lucky to have enough space for our garden areas, whether it's the beautiful flowers my Mom likes to plant or the vegetable and herb garden. I love to pick fresh veggies each day for our guests and can't wait to get started this year, I am actualy looking forward to getting it planted.

I will also have a vegetable garden at my house and hoping to get started on it soon. We have a great raised bed in our new back yard which will be great! I cook for several families in my area, and I love to provide them with the freshest ingredient. There is nothing better than a home grown tomato!

I would love to hear about your spring time gardening and memories~ until then, happy digging!