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What to Cook Wednesday: French Potato Salad

June 28, 2017, posted by Gina – Over the years I have tried several recipes for French Potato Salad. I created this one using certain ingredients from a few other versions. I absolutely love it because the flavors are so wonderful and it does not contain mayonnaise. Don’t get me wrong, I love mayonnaise but this recipe takes away some calorie worries as well as concerns about serving it outdoors. Since the 4th of July is right around the corner, I thought this recipe would be timely. You should give this a try and if you do, make sure to tell us how you like it.

Start with a 3-pound bag of red new potatoes and a vegetable scrubber. Clean the potatoes.

Place the potatoes in a pan of water and bring to a boil. Boil for about 25 minutes or until tender. Don’t boil them too long or the potatoes will turn to mush. Turn them into a colander and place on a cutting board.

Once cooked, cut the potatoes into bite sized pieces. Return the potatoes to the pan and toss with the cooking wine and beef broth. Let them sit for a few minutes allowing the potatoes to soak the wine and broth in and to cool off.

Make the dressing by whisking the remainder of the ingredients together.

Pour the dressing over the potatoes and toss.

Place the potatoes in a serving dish and top with fresh basil or whatever fresh herbs you have on hand. Enjoy!

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4th of July Menu and Recipes

June 27, 2017, posted by Gina – I wrote a post detailing the tablescape I pulled together for our 4th of July gathering and shared the menu. But here, you’ll see all the recipes (or links) for each dish. The blue and white Spode cup on each place setting that you see above will be the recipient of the first dish…delicious Watermelon with Balsamic and Feta.

Tequila Lime Chicken from Ina Garten

Fresh Corn on the cob, cooked and served with butter, salt and pepper.

I have been making Balsamic Roasted Potatoes for years. I no longer need a recipe but wanted to give credit to whoever created this delicious dish. I thought it was Giada but I could not find anything. Then I thought it was Ina and again, I could not find anything. So here goes the recipe straight from my memory and I give thanks to whoever shared it with me.

 


4th of July Tablescape


June 27, 2017, posted by Gina – The Fourth of July is an iconic summer holiday that is synonymous with cookouts, music, picnics, swimming pools, beaches and fireworks. Just as I have fond memories of parties and fireworks so do my own children. I look forward to the 4th because it is a relaxed celebration when you can enjoy all of summer’s bounty.


This tablescape provides a fun and welcoming palette. I used a quilt that has been in my husband’s family and somehow we became the fortunate recipients. We have had it for over 30 years. It was passed down to my mother-in-law from her mother. While I have no exact history on it, it’s at least 50 years. This quilt came to mind for use as a tablecloth since its colors reflect the laid back vibe of 4th of July.

I have two sets of napkins, one red and white and another blue and white. I thought it would be fun to use both and I love the casual look. The rattan chargers anchored each place setting of white plates (Southern Living Alexis) and a blue and white cup from Spode’s Italian pattern. The bamboo flatware seemed to lend itself to the casual tone of the table.


I created a couple of arrangements using sunflowers and hydrangeas in blue and white containers. This seems to be a pairing I return to time and time again. I think this combination echoes the freshness of the summer season. With these large flowers, it is very easy to create a simple arrangement in just a few minutes. I filled a couple of ginger jars I had on hand with water and started placing the flowers. Just remember to keep it simple! If you will also be cooking the meal, creating a simple arrangement allows you to enjoy the day by keeping it all easy and stress-free. By the way, have you ever wondered why they are called ginger jars? Well, their original use was to store spices. In the 1600’s Europeans apparently were obsessed with blue and white porcelain and they became more decorative in nature.

I wanted to serve something a little different than BBQ this year and came up with a menu that I think will please! I have shared all the recipes over on our Recipe Page, so check those out. Here’s the menu:

Watermelon with Balsamic and Feta

Ina Garten’s Tequila Lima Chicken

Fresh Corn on the Cob

Balsamic Roasted Potatoes

Blueberry Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream

GDFC wishes you a very happy 4th and we hope we have given you inspiration to create a memory for your family and friends.


Monday Mood Boards: 4th of July

June 26, 2017, posted by Michelle – We’re in a patriotic mood and have assembled a couple of boards with 4th of July in mind.

Looking for some Independence Day decorations? You really don’t need much more than Old Glory! Evergreen Enterprises

But if you feel you need a few more things for your 4th of July celebration, we have some more ideas for you:

1. Juliska Iberian Indigo Cocktail Plate, bergdorfgoodman.com  | 2. Red Canape Plate, burkedecor.com  |  3. Hermes Bleus d’Ailleurs Plate, neimanmarcus.co  | 4. Stars and Stripes Mason Jar Trio, etsy.com | 5. Kim Seybert Stars Cocktail Coasters, barneyswarehouse.com  6. Stars and Stripes Party Fans, potterybarn.com  |  7. Ella Doran Rope Coasters, amara.com  | 8. Blue and White Cheese Board, etsy.com  |  9. Pre-owned Bottega Veneta Leather placemat, therealreal.com

We’ll have more 4th of July related posts this week, so check back with us!


Fun Stuff on Friday: Purple Polish, Hula Girls and more

June 23, 2017, posted by Gina – We’ve made it to another Friday and another fun stuff post!

Summertime is a great time to try out some new fun colors on your toes. I had a pedicure yesterday and chose Polly Want a Lacquer by OPI. I love this pale purple color but admit it is not  one of my usual color choices. I stick to pinks and neutrals most of the time but sometimes you just have to step out and be a little more daring. Do you tend to wear the same colors or are you a bit adventuresome?


Maybe I fell in love with Special K Dark Chocolate Coconut granola because I was famished when I first tried it, but I don’t think so. I think it is just plain yummy. I went a bit past my regular lunch time and decided to have a Chobani yogurt with a little of this granola on top. It was a real treat. Let us know if you try this. We’d love to know what you think about it.


It thought these cute little dashboard hula girls were a thing of the past…or are they? If you’re of a certain age, you no doubt remember seeing them stuck on dashboards, wiggling with every turn and bump. My son decided that it would be funny to wear a Hawaiian shirt and place this hula girl on his dashboard on our recent trip to the beach. His sense of humor is one of his qualities I admire so much. Did you ever have one of these on your dash? I had a Mother Mary statue but I somehow don’t think they are in the same category.

Why is it that as summertime just seems to be getting into full swing Fall is forced upon us? In craft stores and in clothing stores alike an Autumn chill starts to creep in even though it’s 95 degrees outside. One day bathing suits fill an area and the next (usually after the 4th of July) they are 50% off and their space is being taken over by Fall clothing. Pinterest is such a good indicator of what people are thinking about. Recently, I have seen many Fall decorating pins. If you are a planner like me, it is hard not to start thinking ahead. How about you? Do you start preparing for the next season early? Or do you relish every last minute of each season?

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What to Cook Wednesday: Roasted Lemon-Chile Broccoli

June 21, 2017, posted by Gina – We are kicking off a new weekly post called What to Cook Wednesday and we have a delicious side dish recipe to share with you. This Roasted Lemon Chile Broccoli from Ree Drummond was perfect alongside some salmon and cheese grits I made recently. While she used fresh broccoli, I used frozen florets since I had a large bag on hand. I thawed them and then followed her directions. This was quick, easy and full of flavor. We highly recommend it!

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Tutorial: How to Make A Floral Arrangement Using Chicken Wire

June 20, 2017, posted by Gina – Before the invention of floral foam, floral designers used a variety of materials to arrange flowers, including chicken wire. Chicken wire helps to create a secure design while at the same time allowing the flowers to be placed directly in water. Flowers are at their best when they have a great source of water. We will show you step by step how to create a lovely but simple arrangement using chicken wire. You can find chicken wire in a hardware store, craft store or online. Another great thing about chicken wire is that it can be reused. Let’s get started.

What you’ll need: chicken wire, fresh cut flowers, a container, scissors and floral preservative.

1. Gather chicken wire.
2. These flowers came directly from my garden so they were freshly cut. If you get flowers from a store, make sure to give them a fresh cut.
3. Cut the chicken wire so that it will fit tightly inside the container. It can be a little larger and then pressed into the container for stability.
4. Here you see the chicken wire in the container.

5. Fill the container with water and floral preservative.
6. Begin placing flowers into the container and in the chicken wire for security.
7. Continue placing flowers.
8. Before you know it, the container will be full and the flowers will be very happy directly in the water.


8 Reasons to Handwrite a Thank You Note

June 19, 2017, posted by Gina – We’ve all been taught how to write thank you notes, but do we still do it in the age of texts and emails? Our mother was very strict about writing thank you notes and writing them very promptly. We always had stationery on hand and knew we were expected to write a thank you note for a gift or a nice gesture from someone. Mama GDFC was so emphatic about writing thank you notes that as gifts arrived for my wedding, I was expected to open them and write a thank you at that very moment. At one point, when the wedding was only a week away, about 10 gifts arrived at our home in one day. I opened them and was a bit overwhelmed at writing all 10 thank you notes right then and there. Mama GDFC gave me a stern lecture on being grateful and so the thank you notes were written and mailed.

Today, many people think it is fine to shoot a text or email which is practical and immediate. While any expression of thanks is nice, a handwritten note is much more personal and meaningful. Here are a few good reasons to take the time to write a nice thank you note.

8 REASONS TO HANDWRITE A THANK YOU NOTE

1. It’s just plain exciting for people to open their mailbox and see a hand addressed piece of mail that they instantly know is not a bill, a sales piece or other routine mailings. They know that it is something special.
2. A personal note of thanks makes a connection that no other form of communication can achieve. Your warmth, appreciation and emotion shine through and truly make the addressee feel special, even if for a moment.
3. It shows you are sincerely thankful. You are sharing your inner most thoughts on paper that can be read and re-read.
4. If the person sent a gift by mail or made arrangements in a store for delivery, it lets them know that you received the gift.
5. It makes an impression on the receiver that will not be quickly forgotten.
6. Gratitude has a positive effect on your mood long after the note is written or received. It is said that the more we express gratitude, the more grateful we become.
7. You can use beautiful stationery. There are so many wonderful preprinted and personalized cards; the selection is endless.
8. It’s just the nice thing to do.

Go ahead, order some beautiful stationery and get some wonderful stamps. A pretty stamp helps make it even more special. Find a pen that you love and put all of these things together so it is fun to jot down a few lines and send a bit of joy to someone!

A few helpful tips.
We love to order personalized stationery from our friend Eleanor at www.pinkpeppermintpaper.com. She is wonderful to work with and has some fun designs.

These Oscar de la Renta stamps have us over the moon. Fashion and flowers all in one! They are just so pretty.

reasons to write thank you notes

Do you love writing thank you notes or do you think it is a chore? Let us know by leaving us a comment. We love hearing from you!


Fun Stuff on Friday: 12 Gift Ideas for Father’s Day… and Other Stuff

June 16, 2017, posted by Gina – This week’s Fun Stuff post has a little bit of everything; Father’s Day gift ideas, cute shoes, tiny eggplant and Ina Garten’s new cooking show.

Father’s Day is this Sunday and we’ve been searching for the perfect gift. We seem to wrack our brains every year to come up with something he’ll love. Here is a list of some of the things we are considering as well as a few neat things we saw while out shopping. We hope these may be helpful to you if you are still looking for gifts.

1.Binoculars that fit on your face like glasses so they remain steady and you get a clearer focus on your subject.

2. Extra Photo Storage for an iPhone. I think maybe EVERYONE might need this one. It’s a Leef microSD reader that plugs into your iPhone allowing you to transfer photos from a microSD card to your iPhone or iPad and vice versa. It saves storage on your phone and keeps your photos safe all at once. It works with an App and you can read all the details on the Leef site HERE.

3. Camera Tripod. Mr. GDFC was attempting to take long range photos recently and mentioned he just could not keep the camera as still as he wanted. Light bulb! He will be getting a tripod to help him take just the right photos.

4. Grills and grilling equipment. We looked at a Green Egg but the price would make this purchase a family decision.

5. Kayaks. Ok, so you need to live near water for this one but it gets you on the water for a small price in comparison to boats or jet skis.

6. Tile Mate. This allows you to attach a small, square “tile” on your keys and wallet, download an App and if you lose, or just can’t locate either, the Tile Mate will help you find them.

7. mophie Power. This gives you 2 times regular battery power for your iPhone.

8. Swim trunks – perfect for summer

9. Exercise clothing or equipment

10. Wine

11. Ties – yes ties. Mr. GDFC wears a suit to work every day and it takes a great many ties to keep things fresh. He enjoys receiving new ties.

12. Clothing – always needed and nice to receive.

Now on to other fun stuff…

Check out these shoes! Yes, indeed they are mine! If you follow us then you know I have shown several other pairs of floral shoes but, each time I went to order them, I found they were out of stock. On a recent trip to New Orleans these wild and crazy babies caught my eye and they came home with me. I love the pearls on them. I mean, tennis shoes, flowers and pearls…. they fit my personality to a T!


Cook Like A Pro with Ina Garten is on air. I have seen one episode and was comforted just having Ina back on TV. This show is very much like her former ones and I loved every minute of it. I will confess I was on vacation when I saw the show and, having lost track of time, I don’t remember what day and time it came on. Check your local schedule to see when this wonderful show airs. All is right with the world again now that she if back on air.

Michelle buys flowers from the same ladies every Sunday at a farmers market in Lyon. Since she’s a loyal customer, they usually throw in a few extra flowers. Last week, they generously gave her 8 coral roses and a stem of …berries? pods? She wasn’t sure. After a little online search she discovered these yellow and green striped things are actually a tiny variety of eggplant called Thai eggplant! Neither of us had ever seen them before, maybe you have? At any rate, they looked very pretty mixed in with her flowers. We’ve incorporated tomatoes, artichokes, lemons, pears, apples, oranges, kumquats and a few other fruits and vegetables in our arrangements but this was a first.

That’s a wrap on our Friday. Enjoy your weekend and the fathers in your life!


Mood Board Monday 2 comments

June 12, 2017, posted by Michelle – This Monday we’re dreaming of versatile baskets and trendy macramé. We use baskets all the time as planters and for flower arrangements and, actually, a million other things. There are so many pretty baskets around right now and they’re a simple way to add interesting texture and color to your home.

Macramé has been back for a couple of years and it seems to be as popular as ever. The updated versions of these knotted creations are pretty fun – oh, that chandelier! Growing up, we did have a macramé owl wall hanging in our wood panelled living room in the 1970s. Never fear, those came back too and as the song goes, everything old is new again.

1.Boho Basket, Chairish.com   |  2. Sophie Anderson Adadora Tote, Gilt.com  |  3. RattanBasket, Furniturerow.com  |  4. Bins Basket, Landofnod.com  |  5. Red Fruit Shopping Basket, Chairish.com

1.Mercury Glass Lantern with Macrame Holder, Crackerbarrel.com Did you get that? Who knew the country store inside the Cracker Barrel sold such cute things? Checking to see who reads these these descriptions!  | 2. Macramé Knitted Chandelier, Trouva.com  | 3. Jute Macramé Sunburst Wall Hanging, Chairish.com  |  4. Wall Hanging, Nordstromrack.com  |  5. Regina Andrew Donovan Black Macramé pillow, Shopcandelabra.com