Blueberry Scones with Lemon Drizzle

Our son, Brandon baked blueberry scones with Lemon Drizzle for tea-time at our family get-together. “Don’t overwork the dough,” is his key to excellent scones. These scones are just as delicious placed in the refrigerator overnight and served the next day. I know, because I did that very thing. Enjoy~

 

Blueberry Scones with Lemon Drizzle

Ingredients~

2 cups  All Purpose Flour

1 Tbs.   Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Salt

4 Tbs.   Sugar

5 Tbs.   Unsalted Butter (cold, cut in chunks)

1 cup    Blueberries

1 cup    Half & Half

Lemon Drizzle~

1/2 cup  Lemon Juice (freshly squeezed)

2  cups   Confectioner’s Sugar (sifted)

1    Tbs.  Unsalted Butter

Directions~

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Sift together the dry ingredients; the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
  • Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat the pieces with the flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs.
  • Fold the blueberries into the batter. Take care not to mash or bruise the blueberries.
  • Make a well in the center and pour in the half & half. Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough.
  • Press the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12 by 3 by 1 1/4 inches.
  • Cut the rectangle in 1/2 then cut the pieces in 1/2 again, giving you 4 (3-inch) squares. Cut the squares in 1/2 on a diagonal to give you the classic triangle shape.
  • Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Let the scones cool before drizzling the lemon drizzle.

Lemon Drizzle Directions~

  • In a microwave safe bowl, mix the lemon juice with the confectioner’s sugar until dissolved.
  • Whisk in the butter.
  • Microwave the Lemon Drizzle for 30 seconds.
  • Drizzle over the top of the scones. Let it set a minute before serving.

Best Breakfast Casserole

After feasting on the best breakfast casserole at a church women’s ministry, I sought out the cook and found her; Ruby Thornton. I recently served this breakfast casserole to guests who stayed in our home, and I received great reviews.

Best Breakfast Casserole

9×13 greased pan

  • 4 slices of bread, cubed
  • 6 bacon strips, drained, torn into pieces
  • 14 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup green onions (optional)
  • 1 cup (4 oz) cheddar cheese (shredded)

Directions:

  1. Fry bacon. Drain. Tear into pieces. Set aside.
  2. Cube bread. Place into greased pan.
  3. Beat eggs, milk and sour cream.
  4. Add bacon pieces.
  5. Add salt, pepper, green onions (optional) to taste.
  6. Pour onto bread pieces in pan.
  7. Sprinkle cheese on top.
  8. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes more.

Ideas for Setting the Christmas Table

A Christmas Tradition at our church is called “Prepare Him Room.” This year, the theme was JOY! When I think of JOY, this acronym comes to mind:

  • J esus First
  • O thers Second
  • Y ourself last

For me, Prepare Him Room is such an incredible ladies church event, that it has become an annual mother-daughter special time together.

Walking into the gorgeous room, the many round tables with exquisite Christmas table decorations and settings, will absolutely take your breath away.

I have posted many of these incredible Christmas table decorations. Enjoy~

Christmas Table Setting 2What a festive idea, using ornaments~

Christmas Table Setting 3For a woodsy table setting, don’t you just love these chargers? Notice the names of Jesus set in the pine cones~

 

Table Setting 4Oh Come Let Us Adore Him~

 

Table Setting 5Dazzling and Blue~

Table Setting 6Candles and Candy Canes~

Table Setting 7The layered look is fabulous~

Table Setting 8Delightful~

 

Table Setting 9 “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:8-11

JOYAs I grow older, my Christmas list grows smaller, because what matters in my life cannot be bought. We are traveling to visit family for Christmas, so I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!  JOY to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her KING! Let every heart prepare HIM room…

Hospitality and Presentation

Part 4 of “Entertaining with Elegance and Ease”~by Gwen Brodd

Once you decide on what you plan to prepare…presentation is everything!

Presentation

Let’s talk about table presentation and food presentation.

Table:  

  • For a dinner party set the table with plates, glasses, flatware and decorations a few days ahead of time.

 

  • For an appetizer party decorate the table and gather the plates, trays
    By~Gwen Brodd
    By~Gwen Brodd

    and baskets you will be using. I use a sticky note to identify what item will go in each one.

 

  • Decide if you are going to use paper products or your regular dishes. Guests really won’t care. I know this goes against everything we were taught but we are trying to entertain with ease. Paper products aren’t like they use to be. You can find some great products and set a beautiful table.

 

  • If you’re hosting a crowd, consider traffic flow. Offer beverages in one room, set up food on the kitchen and dinning room table and set bowls of snacks all around in the living room.

 

  • As far as decorations for the table are concerned… add layers. Start with a table cloth. Add a runner or another smaller table cloth square~ Placemats. Stack plates: dinner & salad.

    table
    By~ Gwen Brodd

 

  • Add napkins and napkin rings that you buy or make. Make place cards for dinner parties. They can be simple hand-written cards. Use scrapbooking stickers for embellishing.

 

By~Gwen Brodd
By~Gwen Brodd

Tie ribbon or sash around the chairs and add an embellishment.

Hang Christmas glass ornaments from the dining room chandelier.

Set a warm and welcoming environment for your guests.

 

Food:

Presentation is everything. You can take a store bought pie and put it on a silver tray and impress people.

Keep in mind you can purchase trays and platters of food that are prepared from Carving turkeya bakery, grocery deli or your local Sam’s or BJ’s. You can actually throw a great party with good food without making the first thing. Remove items from the plastic trays and arrange them on your glass or ceramic platters or baskets. Now THAT’S easy and your presentation makes it elegant.

If you want to prepare the food yourself then offer some good ole’ standbys but prepare them with a modern twist.

presentation~I don’t like to offer items that get messy or look bad after a few people have had at it! I want it to look as good for the last person in line as the first person in line.

  • Raw Vegetables: Instead of your typical veggie tray….put them in a basket or glass containers and offer the dip in a hollowed out red cabbage. You can also present veggies in individual plastic cups with the dip in the bottom.

 

  • Fruit can be served on skewers with cubes of cheese.Fruit Kabob

 

  • Offer several kinds of cheeses. An elegant but easy cheese item is baked brie. There are several ways you can prepare it. You can use rolled out pie crust from Pillsbury or thawed Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry. Top it with brown sugar, chopped pecans, and maple syrup. Or top with mango chutney. Wrap in the pastry and bake. Serve with crackers. You can cut out a shape out of extra pastry to decorate the top.

 

  • For sweets, you can buy mini Gigi cupcakes or assorted pastries from a bakery and cut them into small bites and arrange on a plate.

 

  • Put out bowls of nuts …and candies around the house

 

  • A great canapé is Antipasti Mozzarella Cups with fresh basil,
    By~ Gwen Brodd
    By~ Gwen Brodd

    cucumbers, tomatoes and mozzarella in Atheno Phyllo cups with olive oil and red wine vinegar, salt and pepper

 

  • Or Antipasti skewers where you skewer a small mozzarella ball, pepperoni or salami, black olive, black olive, grape tomato and a piece of basil. If you like, prepare tortellini and add it to the skewer.

 

Remember… men love meat and potatoes.

 

  • Crostini with Pork Tenderloin and Herbed Cheese
    Cook marinated pork tenderloin as directed. Cool. Chill and slice thinly. Take a crostini spread the soften cream with garlic and herbs and top with a slice of pork tenderloin.

 

  • BBQ chicken wings or sesame chicken bites will make the men happy.
Make good family memories during the preparation time with family!
Make good family memories during the preparation time with family!

· Cheese and Bacon Potato Rounds is an easy twist on potatoes skins.

Have a variety of food items…something for the health conscience and for those who like to indulge a little during the holidays.

You can have your teenager be responsible for replenishing and keeping the area clean of used napkins and cups. If you don’t have a teenager…hire one from student ministries.

 

Having someone there will keep you free to fellowship with your guests. You want to have FUN too!

With good planning, smart preparation, elegant presentation – and a pinch of prayer – you can be prepared to share your home with friends, neighbors, extended family and even the strangers God may send your way not only this holiday season but throughout the year.

Organization is Key to Hospitality

Continuation of a workshop, “Entertaining with Elegance and Ease” presented by Gwen Brodd, wife of Jeff Brodd, and mother of four grown sons~

Prioritize the things that are most important to you and your family and organize your schedule around them. Choose activities that are meaningful and memorable for the whole family and let other things slide.

When our boys were growing up we hosted a neighborhood birthday party for Jesus. Neighbors from all religions as well as no religion came. I had them bring gifts to give our local home for unwed mothers. We “acted out” the Nativity candleStory. We lighted the Advent candles and told what each candle means. We read from Luke 2. Our desire was to bring the light of Jesus to the children in our neighborhood.

If family tradition dictates a big tree decorating party on the weekend before Christmas, this may be the thing to do while skipping some of the lesser events.

  • Decorate early in the season. I love Fall and Thanksgiving and I decorate a lot for the season. Thanksgiving weekend we pick out our Christmas tree. We use to always do it as a family; all four sons in tow, but things have changed. Last year, it was just Jeff and me. I tried to keep a good attitude and not cry too much. I didn’t even want to get out of the car at the tree lot 😉

I decorate for Christmas during the weekend. I have a lot of decorations. Jeff would say too many.

In fact, I asked my family, “If I was not here (meaning, I am celebrating Christmas with Jesus) would you decorate my home?”

They all gave me a look and said “No, not to the extent that YOU decorate.”

My decorations are in bins labeled by room or location, such as kitchen, mantel, dining room, front porch, etc. It does not take me long at all to decorate. I like to have it done by December 1st so that I can sit and enjoy them the rest of the month.

These seven suggestions should help you in planning your holiday season to open up your calendar in December for a stress free season so that you cane entertain with ease.

Throwing a party for friends and family should be a joy, not a chore. By utilizing a style of entertaining that is informal, relaxed, and expressive, not only will your guests enjoy themselves, but you will as well.

cornucopia~Organization is the key to easy entertaining. There are 3 questions you need to answer in planning your party:

  1. What is the date?
  2. How many guests will be there?
  3. What type of party will it be? (dinner, potluck, appetizer) The kind of party you want to have will determine the number of guests you will invite. You may only have 10 for a dinner party but 25 for an appetizer party.

Pick a date for the party and get it on the calendar this afternoon! Schedules fill up fast between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, so reserve your date early. Don’t forget about the week between Christmas and New Year’s when there’s nothing going on. (I will schedule our neighbors that we get together with every year –their son, Kirk was Kyle’s best friend during that week as well as my high school girlfriends that I have over.) They are very casual, low key dinners.

I actually will schedule several events a few days apart. I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out. Think about it. You only have to clean house once and as I empty the dishwasher, I set the table for the next event; don’t even bother putting them away. This method saves time and energy and makes it easy on me.

After you have planned the date of your party, the kind of party and the number of guests, you need to start preparing.

Preparations

Invitation1. Prepare Your Guest List

Send out invitations immediately. Snail mail is the best method for sending invitations. I know we are in the age of texting and FACEBOOK invitations. Invitations need to sent out 4-6 weeks in advance. If you must go with email invites, make sure you at least personalize them, by uploading your own photographs or images and cut and paste them into your message using a font that works well…. but make it easy on yourself.

2. Prepare Your Home

Do not wait till the week of your party to do DEEP cleaning…. do it next week and when it comes time for the party…just a quick dusting and vacuuming. Remove clutter. Make sure the powder room is clean. I am going to share a secret: Keep lights low, use lots of candles and put your ceiling fans on low to keep people from seeing the dust on the blades!

You don’t have to have a house that will pass the “white glove test” from your mother-in-law. A tidy –uncluttered house will LOOK clean. Remember….people are not coming to your home because of how your house looks or how good your food tastes…they are coming to be with YOU! They like the way you make them feel…at home and special. The truth is…most peoples homes are a mess, cluttered and untidy. They will just feel at home at yours!

3. Prepare Your Menu

Forget new recipes….now is NOT the time to experiment. All those cute and clever things you see on Pinterest or people’s FACEBOOK…wait till January and February to try them…in between your root canal and routine physical.

Prepare items that you have successfully made before that your family and friends enjoy. People want to help…it’s okay to have people bring part of your menu. If you are having a dinner party for 8-10 plan prepare the main entre yourself but have someone bring a potato or rice dish depending on your meat dish, someone else bring a vegetable, another bring, a salad and the last one bring dessert and rolls. It’s okay!

If you want to prepare the meal yourself keep the menu simple… a meat dish, starch, vegetable and rolls. I wouldn’t serve Beef Wellington or Crown Pork Roast if cooking is not your thing.

If you are having more of a party where the food will be finger food such as finger foodsappetizers you can have guests bring a dish if they offer. If you want to provide the food then prepare a menu of hors d’ oeuvres. Even though it is the holiday season people still want to eat somewhat healthy.

I would offer about 7-10 different items for a typical party. Your menu should include vegetables, fruits, assorted cheeses, crackers, meats, nuts, and sweets.

Next Post~Hospitality and Presentation