Saturday, November 30

The Passing of Fall

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays to celebrate and for the Porter's it's a family affair as we all gather together to give thanks and enjoy a feast of turkey with all the trimming. Not everyone has the luxury of a close family, or dear friends to spend this holiday with and we recognize that we are very lucky to have each other and deeply grateful to be blessed with such wonderful things. Family, friends, love, good health and a warm home are never to be taken lightly.

Life tends to fly by quickly the older I get. When I was younger, sad to say, I tended to take things in life for granted, never really understanding how blessed  I truly was. As time passes and I grow older I have begun to realize how fortunate I am compared to others in the world, and for that alone I am humbly thankful. 2013 has had it's peaks and valleys - as any year does - but as it comes to a close I am grateful for the joyous year the Lord has so graciously given my family. Anticipating the new year and anxious to see what 2014 has in store for us! Now - on to December and Christmas - savor every delicious moment!

Pictures of our 2013 Thanksgiving Celebrations, Enjoy!


Thursday, November 28

If you.......GIVE THANKS

If you have a feast spread across your dining room table today, and your friends and loved ones fill the chairs;
If you have a job that pays the bills for you and your family, and perhaps have a little left over for the extras in life;
If you can worship God on the day of your choice at the place of your choice;
If your son or daughter arrived home safely after going out with friends;
If you can share your money, time or talents with people in need;
If you have a heart that is beating, your lungs breathing, your body functioning as it was designed;
If you have had someone express their gratefulness to you for treating them kindly;
If you can vote for whomever you choose and criticize the views and actions of your leaders without fear of prison or death;
If you can set and meet your educational goals and pursue your career dreams;
If you have a ride to the grocery store, the doctor’s office, the drug store, place of worship, play and work;
If you have a mind that is sharp, free of mental shadows and constant anxieties that make it tough to continue;
If you have a home that is a haven of peace where you feel safe and loved, where family members celebrate your victories and encourage you after failure, where you can forgive and be forgiven;



Monday, November 25

Black Eyed Pea's Baked Squash Casserole

As of late, Mr.P and I find ourselves eating out quite a lot - a habit I'm sure many new empty-nesters indulge in when all of their children leave home. On a few occasions in the last several months we have eaten at our local Black-Eyed Pea. I have always loved their squash casserole and it's still as good as I remember it to be. Thinking that it would make an excellent side dish for our Thanksgiving turkey, I began to hunt for a good squash casserole recipe. I stumbled across this 'original' Black-Eyed Pea recipe and quickly decided to add this to our Thanksgiving menu. I'm sharing this treasure in case anyone out there is a lover of yellow squash as well - ENJOY!

Black Eyed Pea's Baked Squash Casserole
Even if you don't like yellow squash, you've got to try this. The Black Eyed Pea Restaurant chain is well known for their southern country veggies and this squash casserole is outta this world good!

  • 5 lb medium yellow summer squash, cleaned and cut into 2" lengths
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup soft bread crumbs, crumble a few slices of bread or rolls in a food processor
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoon butter, melted
  • Drop squash and onion into a large saucepan with enough boiling water to cover. Return to boil, reduce heat and cook until tender. Drain in colander and mash, allowing excess liquid to drain.
  • Add beaten eggs, 1 cup breadcrumbs, butter, sugar, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
  • Pour into a 3-quart casserole that has been lightly sprayed with a nonstick spray. 
  • Toss remaining bread crumbs with melted butter and sprinkle over top of casserole. 
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned.


Black Eyed Pea Restaurant, squash casserole, Thanksgiving, side dishes, vegetables, good, easy, recipe, original.

Saturday, November 23

Holiday Gift Guide For The Home Cook

Those who love to cook can't ever have too many kitchen gadgets and accessories, so I've been working hard to find the most stylish gifts for those who love to spend time in the kitchen. Do you have a friend or family member who would pick a shopping spree at Williams-Sonoma over a shopping spree at Prada any day of the week? Someone who would rather watch Top Chef over Modern Family when given the remote on a Wednesday night? Below you'll find suggestions for great kitchen-themed presents perfect for the home cook. From fun aprons to durable mixers to out of this world Meyer Lemon Infused Olive Oil, you can find it here with easy to follow links for uncomplicated Christmas shopping! ENJOY!

Macaroon Maker Apron
Fresh First Course Apron
Tramontina Porcelain Covered Cast Iron Gourmet Cookware
Breville Toastie Sandwich Maker
Ceramic Mixing Bowls
Williams-Sonoma Thermo-Clad™ Stainless-Steel Sauté Pan
Cuisinart Stainless-Steel Food Chopper
Set of 8 Stainless Styell Measuring Cups
Zeroll Original Tubmate Ice Cream Spade
Glass Salt Cellar with Lid
Pourfect Whisk-A-Bowl
Large Seasoning Sticks
Painted Amaryllis Butter Dish
KitchenAid Gourmet Measuring Spoons
Candy Thermometer
Lodge Enameled Cast Iron 6 Quart Dutch Oven
Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust
Red Sur La Table Italian Garlic Cellars
Lemon Verbena Bar Kitchen Hand Soap
Toscana Comfort Mat in Caramel 
French Jacquard Dish Cloths
Lucero Crushed Meyer Lemon Certified Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Antony Joseph Coloured Rings Cutting Board
Five Piece Colorful Kitchen Gadget Set
Giuseppe Giusti Three Gold Medal Balsamic Vinegar
French Tapered Rolling Pin
Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus Food Processor Chopper Grinder
Norpro Ceramic Pie Bird
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale
Cuisinart HM-50 Power Advantage 5-Speed Hand Mixer
Microplane Premium Classic Green Fine Grater Zester

If you STILL can't decide on a gift for the cook in your life why not try the KITCHEN GADGET OF THE MONTH CLUB. Your loved one will receive, via mail, a different kitchen gadget every month for an entire year - brilliant right???


Monday, November 18

How To Be The Perfect House Guest

The 2013 Holiday Season will be here in less than two weeks, are you ready? I have written on the virtues of being a good host - here and here - but so far have failed to mention what it takes to be the perfect house guest. Being a gracious house guest is easy when simple courtesies are observed. When friends invite you and your family into their home, your responsibility as a good house guest is to make it as easy as possible on your genial host. Remember you are not checking into a luxury hotel, however lovely the accommodations may be! Whether overnight or for a longer visit, show your gratitude for the hospitality by following a few house guest etiquette tips:

Share your travel plans early. Contact your host prior to finalizing travel plans to be sure there are no conflicts with the hosts schedule. Confirm arrival and departure time and also advise if you will need a ride or assistance. Make sure that you don't stay too long. You should depart at the time you originally planned and not extend your stay - unless it's due to unforeseen circumstances.

Leave your pets at home. Don't ask to bring your pets along, unless you are VERY close friends with your host. Even then, if your pet is unruly, rough on furniture, or unaccustomed to children, check your pet into a doggy hotel. It's just better all around.

Be neat. Keep your guest room neat and make up the bed daily. If you are sleeping in a common area and not in a guest room, remove your sheets daily and put them away. In addition clean up the bathroom after using it, include washing out the sink, picking up towels and putting away any toiletries. If sharing a bathroom with other guests or your host, don't hog the bathroom by taking a leisurely bath or use up all of the hot water by taking a long shower. 

Chip in with chores. Don't wait for your host to ask for your help. Neither should your offer be open ended, "Let me know if you need any help." Make a specific offer such as, "Let me wash the breakfast dishes." Unless your host responds with a firm 'no' to your offer, you should do what you can to help out - especially during the holidays.

Don't overuse your cellphone, iPad/Pod or other smart technology. In today's age it's hard to truly 'get away' from all forms of communication and interaction. While visiting in someone's home be respectful of the time you use connected to the outside world. Don't forget they invited you for a visit.

Participate in planned activities. If your host has planned a day of shopping, an evening of cruising the local Christmas lights or a simple game of  Monopoly, go along for the ride and enjoy yourself. If on the other hand your host is chilling out at home for the day, by all means go with the flow.

Discuss additional plans in advance with your host. If you want to attend the theater or visit other friends in the area, you should discuss these plans with your host. Find out the best times to coordinate those activities. Do not make plans or accept plans for you or your host without asking first. 

Follow the schedule of your host. Typically your host will dictate the time to go to bed and what time to get up. If possible, try to adhere to that schedule. If not, keep your voice down in the evening and the television low, especially in the morning. 

Bring a small hostess gift. When staying in someone's home it's always a nice touch and much appreciated gesture to bring your host a gift. Something simple is best, such as: the latest best seller, a small floral arrangement, a box of good chocolates, a set of personalized note cards, a good mixture of dried herbs, good candles, a box of fine tea, infused vinegar, French milled soaps, pretty picture frame, Christmas CD, etc. 

Straighten up before you leave. Before you leave, remove your sheets from the bed, fold them and leave them at the end of the bed. Also, ask your host what you should do with your used towels.

Send a hand written thank you. In addition to thanking your host in person when you say goodbye, send a thank you card once you return home. Make sure not to wait too long, it should be sent within a few days after returning home.

Use your common sense for the rest:
Don't smoke in the house.
Don't get black mascara all over the good wash clothes.
Do have your phone charger with you.
Do push in your chair and re-stack the magazines.
Don't be in a bad mood or argue with your spouse. 
Do encourage good conversation.
Don't complain about the bed, the room or the food.
Do be appreciative & have a good time!


houseguest, good, considerate, common sense, thank you, neat, travel plans, pets, holidays, host, hostess, appreciative, schedule, participate, family, accommodation, overnight, gratitude,

Saturday, November 16

Tabletop Tannenbaums I

For some, buying a traditional Christmas tree is not an option.  Whether it's due to limited space, time, money orrrrr, no desire to go through all the work that buying, hauling, trimming, standing, lighting and decorating a large tree entails!!  I'm pretty sure that's why, somewhere along the way, the tabletop Christmas tree was invented!  Either that or just because it's uhhh, super cute!  Just like wreaths and traditional Christmas trees, there are so many variations in color, design and ornaments when it comes to tabletop trees...  Just scroll on and see for yourself....

Deck your halls with a smaller tree this Christmas season! 
More to come.........


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