Monday, April 9, 2018

Flowers for Teatime

"Some people will tell you there is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

A gift of tea gives pleasure long after the final cup is steeped -- especially when the container is as lovely as the one pictured above, which was a birthday surprise from the Victoria team.

This shiny tin canister, with its pretty pink label, seemed perfect for holding a posy of fresh spring flowers. (For some other pretty selections, consider the Nina's Tea L'Original Marie-Antoinette Pink Tin, Harney & Sons Royal Palace Tea Tin, or Nina's Tea Fete de Versailles.)

To make this centerpiece, I slipped a plastic cup into the canister, added water, and arranged a brimful bouquet of fresh floral stems.

Ready to be placed on the table or shared with a friend, this sweet posy doubles the pleasure of a teatime gift!

"The mere chink of cups and saucers tunes the mind to happy repose." ~ George Gissing

Friday, April 6, 2018

Savor a Simple French Country Salad

"Take time enough for your meals, and eat them in company whenever you can." ~ Edward Everett

Not too long ago, I put together a salad using leftovers from our dinner the night before. This easy weekend lunch was so tasty, it seemed worthy of a streetside Parisian cafe. It's a recipe I want to remember for sharing with a friend, so I'm providing the full details here!

Simple French Country Salad

Prepare this refreshing mix to enjoy individually or to serve when entertaining.

Chicken breast(s) 
Lemon-garlic marinade* 
Sea salt 
Black pepper 
Thin asparagus spears, trimmed 
Olive oil 
Shredded Parmesan 
Spring mix lettuces 
Fresh strawberries 
Goat cheese crumbles* 
Honey-roasted pecans*

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.

2. Butterfly chicken. Brush with lemon-garlic marinade, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Saute over medium-high heat until cooked through, and set aside to let cool slightly.

3. Meanwhile, on prepared baking sheet, toss asparagus with a little olive oil and season to taste with salt, pepper and Parmesan. Bake in one layer until stalks are tender and edges are slightly charred, 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside to let cool slightly.

4. Slice chicken into strips, chop asparagus, and slice strawberries.

5. Divide lettuces among plates. Top with sliced chicken, chopped asparagus, sliced strawberries, goat cheese crumbles, and pecans. Drizzle with lemon-garlic dressing, and serve.

*I used Tessemae's Organic Lemon Garlic Dressing & Marinade and Fresh Gourmet Honey Roasted Pecan Pieces. For the salad pictured, we were out of goat cheese, so I used shredded Parmesan, which also provided a nice complement to the other flavors.

This delicious recipe demonstrates that sometimes the best culinary surprises come about from using what you have on hand. Chocolate croissants from a local bakery provided a perfect end to this healthful bistro meal!

"There is no need for hurry in life -- least of all when we are eating." ~ Edward Everett

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Easter Memories 2018

"For I remember it is Easter morn,
And life and love and peace are all new born."
~ Alice Freeman Palmer

This Easter found us in Searcy, Arkansas, to visit Carson for Spring Sing at Harding University. It was so special to spend the holiday together, and I cherished every moment with our party of six. Here are a few photos from our weekend.

" 'Twas Easter-Sunday. The full-blossomed trees
Filled all the air with fragrance and joy."
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Friday, March 30, 2018

Easter Greetings

"Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life." ~ S.D. Gordon

Wishing you a lovely holiday spent in the company of those you love most!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Languid Beauty of Wisteria

"In memory of
the spring now passing
I drew
the long clusters of wisteria
that move like waves ... ."
~ Masaoka Shiki

I have been even more eager to see wisteria this spring after writing about it for our March/April issue of Victoria magazine. Although many of our photos for that feature were taken abroad, this vigorous bloomer also flourishes close to home. On a recent visit to Smith-Byrd House for afternoon tea, I was pleased to find clusters of lovely purple blossoms entwined with vivid pink azaleas.

" 'Wisteria is my favorite flowering vine. Do you know why?'

I shook my head. 'No ma'am.'

'Because it's strong -- just like me."

~ Beth Hoffman

Sunday, March 25, 2018

10 Favorite Easter Ideas from a Decade of A Little Loveliness

"Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life." ~ S.D. Gordon

Over the years, we have shared some beautiful Easter memories. Looking back through ten years of posts, I am feeling so nostalgic for the many special springtime traditions, parties and creative projects we enjoyed when all my chicks were in the nest. (Or should I say that my bunnies were in the basket?) Thankfully, we will get to celebrate the holiday this year with Carson, our college boy. All four children are still willing to coordinate for church on Easter morning, so look for family pictures commemorating our time together. I will be the beaming mama, feeling so happy and blessed to enjoy another year with my precious ones! 

Nestling a smaller vase inside a larger one creates a space for filling with rows of pastel jellybeans. I made the original arrangement for Easter but kept the candy vase intact for quite a while and refilled it for several occasions.

My little bunnies loved these cabbage cupcakes, made by piping green icing on with an angled cake-decorating tip.

Photographing this bunny topiary, I could picture it as the crowning touch for a spring tea party. Find directions here.

Visit this post for a recipe for White Chocolate Nests.

For many years, one of my favorite springtime traditions was taking the children to paint Easter eggs at a local paint-your-own-pottery studio. Surveying our collection today, I am reminded of those precious times, such as this outing ten years ago.

This season is a wonderful time to bless others. Find ideas for Easter basket lunches for teachers here.

To share the love with friends, revisit this post to see how my friend Stacey treated the girls and me to an Easter tree party. Our daughters were all preschool age. How I miss those days!

For a sweet favor, how about this precious bunny in a jar? My sister-in-law Shannon made these for all the grandchildren at Easter one year.

Take a peek at this vibrant centerpiece, a whimsical Peeps arrangement.

And finally, this easy basket takes the cake! Find the how-to for this charming and versatile dessert in this post.

"For I remember it is Easter morn, And life and love and peace are all new born." ~ Alice Freeman Palmer

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