Monthly Archives: February 2017

Shopping Excursion: Charnay, France in the Beaujolais 1 comment

February 15, 2017, posted by Michelle – Le Monsieur and I went to the southern part of the Beaujolais region this past weekend on an antique hunting trip. It’s only about a 30 minute drive north of Lyon and there are a few roadside antique shops that I had been wanting to visit. I’ll get to that in a minute but for now I have a little histoire.

This particular part of the Beaujolais, apart from being known for wine, is also known for the golden limestone (pierres dorées) that was used to construct some of the oldest buildings in the 30 or so villages found here. The warm color of the stones reflects the sunlight, bathing the facades in an array of deep, rich hues. It’s obvious to see why this area is nicknamed “Little Tuscany’.

We stopped in Charnay, a village that was presumably founded in the 2nd century by a Roman legionnaire. The Counts of Forez and Lyon ruled the village until 1175 when ownership passed to the Archbishop of Lyon. Throughout the following centuries possession of the village passed from one aristocratic family to the next. In 1650 the Du Lieu family built the Mansarde Castle (pictured above) which the town of Charnay bought in 1948. It houses the City Hall today.

Construction of the church here started in 1150 and incorporates both Romanesque and Gothic styles. The fort next to the church was built between the 12th and 13th centuries. The narrow streets are lined with houses built in the 19th century using the beautiful pierres dorées, golden stones. It’s one of many pretty, well preserved pierres dorées villages in the southern Beaujolais.

Now back to the antiquing…We stopped at three antique shops that were jam packed from floor to ceiling with everything and anything old. In one place there were so many rows of furniture  that it was impossible to see anything beyond the first row. Finally, I came to a cleared out section of pottery, old plates and majolica. There were also five or six very old painted wooden carousel horses and piles of old wooden doors. That’s what’s so fun about these places, you never know what you’ll come across.

I ended up finding an interesting piece of white clay pottery called a bojito. These jugs were used in Spain in the 19th and early 20th centuries for keeping drinking water cool. This one came from a pottery in Agost, Spain called La Nava where they are still made in the traditional way.

We’ll being going back to the southern Beaujolais again soon because we also discovered several lots full of old windows, doors, stone architectural details and such. It would be fun digging through those things to see what we can find. But the beauty of this region dotted with vineyards and pierres dorées villages is reason enough to return. My photos don’t really show how pretty the stones here are since we were there at dusk. Visit the Beaujolais Pierres Dorées website to see more photos that showcase the pierres dorées of the villages and castles here.

Cookbook Club Mardi Gras Luncheon Recipes: Crawfish Quiche, A Very Special Tossed Salad and Grilled Asparagus

February 13, 2017
, posted by Gina – I had the pleasure of attending my Cookbook Club luncheon the week before last. Our hostess chose a Mardi Gras theme and we all enjoyed the décor as well as the food.

Each table was adorned with floral arrangements in the Mardi Gras colors of green, purple and gold. The sparkling tri-colored table runners enhanced the arrangements and the place settings, which incorporated McCarty pottery and copper placemats, worked beautifully.

One of the ladies was charged with making Bloody Marys and our hostess provided an assortment of garnishes for this libation.

We began our time together with a wonderful Zucchini Cheese Spread. Then we served ourselves buffet style beginning with a delicious salad. The main course included Marinated Tomatoes, Grilled Asparagus and Crawfish Quiche. To top the day off we enjoyed a King Cake and a Bourbon Chocolate Tipsy Cake.

We want to share three delicious recipes from this luncheon with you: Grilled Asparagus, Crawfish Quiche and the Very Special Tossed Salad.


A Sweet Valentine’s Brunch 1 comment

Coconut Cream Filled Strawberries

February 7, 2017– posted by Gina – Recently, I had the opportunity to treat a few of my close friends to a simple Valentine’s brunch. I set everything up buffet style for this cozy, casual gathering.

Valentine Brunch

I purchased these Gerbera daisies at the grocery store on one of my many recent trips. When I snapped them up I did not have this spread in mind but they worked well with this grouping. I placed them in a rustic galvanized vase with green patina which blended in perfectly with the serving dishes. It was a very simple detail but often it’s the little touches that can have the biggest impact. What is Valentine’s Day without a little candy? I can never pass up the grocery aisle with the seasonal goodies. As I was strolling through the selection of endless sweets, these oversized M&M’s caught my eye and somehow a few bags ended up in my cart.

Gerbera Daisies and M&M's

I set the coffee up right across from the food. Having seen antique tart pans used as decorative items in kitchens lately, I figured I might as well use my current one for something other than baking. It held the white coffee mugs. What is Valentine’s without these little Sweethearts? I sprinkled a few in the bottom of the mason jar and used it as a silver caddy.

Valentine Brunch Coffee Station

It’s great when you can pull things you already have together to create a theme. I didn’t have to run out to buy anything for this set up since I already had the hugs and kisses plaque, the carafes and the  plaid napkins on hand. When you start to think of different ways to use what’s on hand, you’ll find you have an infinite variety of possibilities.

Valentine Brunch Buffet

I served banana bread, chicken salad and coconut cream filled strawberries. For the strawberries and the banana bread I used recipes I had been wanting to try. Both were delicious and easy to make so if you’d like to see the recipes visit our Recipe Page.

Valentine Brunch Banana Bread, Strawberries and Chicken Salad

Be My Valentine: Banana Bread, Strawberries with Coconut Cream and Chicken Salad 3 comments

February 7, 2017, posted by Gina – Are there recipes that you find and would like to try but never seem to have the time to make them? Well, that was the case with two of these recipes that I made for a Valentine’s Brunch. I set up a simple and sweet buffet to serve these delights. Check out our Blog Page to see how everything came together.

You may have a favorite banana bread recipe like I do but I just had to try this one. The recipe I’ve used for years is tried and true but the toasted pecans and cream cheese filling in this version seemed too good to pass up. This was a wonderful treat.

The chicken salad recipe I usually use is one that I have made for over 20 years but I don’t make it very often. I like it because it tastes really fresh and has a great combination of flavors.

I have wanted to make these coconut cream filled strawberries ever since I came across the recipe 10 years ago! They were worth the wait. The sweet coconut cream is so delicious with the fresh strawberries and they look so pretty.