Home » holiday

Tag: holiday

Dad’s Day Beer Brunch Menu

Dad’s Day is on the horizon.
It’s time to celebrate the man who taught you to change a tire.
How to hang level photos.
How to pace yourself with alcoholic beverages.
How to avoid being electrocuted … just after you managed to accidentally shock yourself on an unsecured outlet.

Next weekend, return the favor and teach dad a thing or two – about brunch. Start with coffee. Brunch is about being civilized.

16_02926Then, take your cues from Little Rock’s rustic, man-centric Lost 40 Brewing Company and create a Beer Brunch for dad with dishes like Sausage and Grits, Beer-Battered Waffles, or Farmer’s Hash with roasted onions, potatoes, red bell and poblano peppers, white cheddar, breakfast sausage, topped with over-easy eggs.

Then, for the final flourish, introduce dad to the Brew-mosa (aka Beer-mosa). Basically, a light beer – Lost 40 uses its Day Drinker Belgian Blonde — mixed with orange juice.

Official Brew-mosa Recipe:
16_02911Pour beer into glass. Add orange juice to taste.

It may not be dad’s thing, but you weren’t really into shop class, either. And he’ll appreciate your efforts.

And check out our shop for gifts dad will love.

 

16_02905

Happy Mother’s Day with Fresh Flowers

Buzz with flowersIt’s hard to find just the right gift that evokes all the things you’d like to tell the mother in your life on Mother’s Day. Whether it’s your own mother, a best friend or the mother of your own brood, a beautiful bouquet from Stargazer Barn just can’t be topped. This Mother’s Day Bouquet is a stunning fresh-cut arrangement bursting with beautiful complementary colors, and long, gorgeous stems grown on the farm at Stargazer Barn. The bouquet features six perfectly shaped, bright yellow Royal lilies accented with16 gorgeous deep blue irises. Don’t be afraid to go above and beyond by topping your bouquet off with a package of coffee or small-batch chocolate to make her feel like a queen!

16_02835 Table

You can have this bouquet delivered directly to your treasured matron, or order one to your own home and use it as décor to host a delightful Mother’s Day Brunch! Help mom kick back and relax on her day by providing a bountiful brunch complete with a Stargazer Mother’s Day Bouquet as a centerpiece.

I’m always amazed at the resilience and tenderness of motherhood, and I like to invite the ladies in my life to kick back and enjoy the day at Moss Mountain Farm on this special day. The fare can be simple—try a chicken salad and Buttermilk Pecan Pie—after all, it’s the togetherness and enjoyment of the day that we all come to celebrate.

See the whole fresh flower collection at the P. Allen Smith shop.

 

Stargazer Barn Mother’s Day Bouquet
The Stargazer Mother’s Day Bouquet features 6 perfectly shaped bright yellow Royal lilies accented with a full cluster of 16 deep blue irises.

 

Stargazer Barn Orange Tulips
Dazzling deep red-orange blooms open to reveal an unexpected surprising black base. The rich, hand-selected flowers will arrive in bud form and continue to bloom over the ensuing days.

 

Stargazer Barn Pale Pink Priental Lilies
These breathtaking Stargazer Barn Pale Pink Oriental Lilies have large blooms, high bud counts and long stems. The blooms have a slightly sweet, almost citrusy scent. With proper care, they’ll have a long vase life.

Say Happy Valentine’s Day with Flowers

Giving flowers is the perfect way to let someone know you are thinking about them on this love-filled holiday. Whether it’s your spouse, partner, child, parent or closest friend, everyone loves to receive a bouquet of elegant flowers for Valentine’s Day and know they are in someone’s thoughts. The folks are Stargazer Barn have orchestrated some beautiful handpicked bouquets to brighten your loved one’s home or office this holiday. Add a small batch package of coffee, or an artisanal chocolate bar and hearts are guaranteed to flutter. Here are a few of my favorite bouquets available in the P. Allen Smith shop

P. Allen Smith’s Exclusive Love in Bloom Bouquet

A dozen long-stemmed Jumbo Pink tulips and a dozen Telstar Irises are sure to get hearts swooning.

Lilies For Lovers

The Lilies For Lovers bouquet of Stargazer and Oriental lilies packs a colorful and fragrant punch when the enormous buds burst open with beautiful pink and white petals.

Valentine’s Tulip Kiss

There is nothing more romantic than long stemmed tulips. This gorgeous combo includes 12 stems of the variety Ile de France and 12 stems of Jumbo Pink tulips to add sweeping romance to any room.

Bouquets of tulips, roses and rannuculus in a wire basket

Valentine’s Day Flower Alternatives

Small Vases of Bouquets in a Wire BasketMy favorite gift to give on Valentine’s Day is flowers.  I like the idea of a hint of spring arriving at a loved one’s door just when it seems that winter will never pass.  It’s a wonderful reminder that sunshine and blue skies are on their way!

Whether your sweetheart has a brown thumb or loves to get their hands in the soil you can’t go wrong with flowers.  Although red roses are the classic Valentine’s Day flower, there are so many choices available it’s easy to be creative.  Here are some ideas for you to consider.

Basketful of Bouquets
Flowers are a wonderful way to say I love you.  To make the statement even more personal, why not put together the arrangement yourself.  Here’s a simple gift idea I featured in Woman’s Day that I still use.  It’s a whole basketful of blooms.  The beauty of this present is that the vases can be removed from the basket and put wherever the recipient wants fresh flowers.

  1. Wire Basket of VasesGather enough juice glasses or small vases (2 to 3 inches high) to fit snugly into a basket.
  2. Head out to your local florist and choose your combination of flowers.  Or try my selections of 10 stems each of white and pink mini carnations, pink and red sweet heart roses, red tulips and pink ranunculus.
  3. Make each bouquet by gathering a bunch of the same flowers in one hand just below the blossoms and then trimming the stems to 4 inches.  Wrap a rubber band around the stems to hold them securely together, then push the band up the stems just beneath the base of the flowers.
  4. Drop the bundle into a water-filled vase.  Trim more from the stems if necessary.  Repeat this process for each vase.  Add a ribbon gift card and you’re ready to deliver your one-of-a-kind gift.

Flowering Houseplants, Hot House Shrubs and Forced Bulbs
Solitaire Azalea I feel safe in saying that by February most of us are tired of winter.  Even with the daring blooms of early daffodils, winter honeysuckle and quince, it can be a pretty dismal month.  I suppose that’s why flowers are such a nice gift on Valentine’s Day.  If your special someone has a green thumb, consider giving them a flowering houseplant, hot house shrub or forced spring bulbs.  The blooms will last for weeks and with proper care the houseplants will bloom again and the shrubs can be planted out in the garden.  Here are a few to consider:

  • African Violets
  • Primroses
  • Orchids
  • Cyclamen
  • Bromeliads
  • Miniature Roses
  • Peace Lily
  • Gardenia
  • Azalea
  • Hydrangea
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Paperwhites
  • Amaryllis
  • Hyacinths
  • Tulips
  • Mixed Bulb Gardens
  • Muscari

Rose Bushes
New Dawn Rose Surronding a Window Give the special gardener in your life more than just a single bouquet, a rose bush will provide fresh flowers year after year.  And now is the time to order roses.  Just be sure to be around when it comes time to plant!  Here is a list of some of my favorites:

  • New Dawn
  • Collette
  • Old Blush
  • Russell’s Cottage
  • Sarah van Fleet
  • LaMarque
  • The Fairy
  • White Meidiland

Good to Know
Make sure the message you send is the right one!  Here are meanings to some popular flowers.
Azalea = First Love
Camellia = Gratitude
Carnation = Fascination
Chrysanthemum = Friendship
Crocus = Cheerfulness, Dedicated to St. Valentine
Daffodil = Chivalry
Daisy = Innocence
Forget-Me-Not = Memories
Gardenia = Grace
Hyacinth = Sincerity
Ivy = Fidelity
Lilac = First Love
Casablanca Lily = Celebration
Orchid = Rare Beauty
Peony = Good Health
Rose, Pink = Friendship
Rose, Red = Passionate Love
Rose, Red and white = Unity
Rose, Rhite = Youthful Innocence
Sweetpea = Lasting Pleasure
Tulip, Red = Declaration of Love
Violet = Faithfulness
Zinnia = Thoughts of Friends

Three Ways to Prolong Valentine’s Day Roses

Did you receive roses for Valentine’s Day? Lucky you! Prolong the love with these three ideas.

When Your Roses Arrive
If your roses came prearranged, simply place the vase in a spot out of direct sun and away from heat sources.

For unarranged roses fill a vase with lukewarm water and add a floral preservative along with one teaspoon of bleach to keep the water clean. Remove any leaves from the stems below water line. Under running water, re-cut the ends of the stems at a slight angle. Place the flowers immediately into the vase.

Every few days replace with water and recut the ends of the stems.

Giving Your Roses a Second Life
Pull the freshest flowers from the bouquet and reuse them in a new arrangement. Buy flowers from a local florist or market to complement the colors of your roses. For red roses try purple, orange, and golden yellow flowers. If you receive salmon roses, add chartreuse, blue, and cream. Pink roses look great with burgundy, lavender, and cream blooms.

Cut the rose and flower stems to about 8 inches long. Grab the entire bouquet as close to the base of the blooms as possible. Wrap a rubber band around the stems to hold the arrangement together tightly. Place the bouquet in a low vase filled with fresh water, floral preservative and a few drops of bleach.

Preserve your Memory
As your roses fade, remove the petals and place them in an open weave basket to dry. Purchase other ingredients from hobby or craft stores to create your own personalized potpourri. I start with a base of pre-packaged dried flowers or potpourri to create a colorful mixture. With an eyedropper add some rose oil to the potpourri and toss gently to refresh the fragrance of the flowers. Place the mixture a bowl or basket where the aroma can be enjoyed.

Four Fragrant Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Are you scrambling to find to perfect gift for your mom this year? You can never go wrong with the gift of fragrance. Aromatique is a decorative fragrance company in my home state of Arkansas so when I give scents, I always reach for Aromatique. My friend Patti Upton started the company in 1982 with a line of potpourri made with materials she found in the woods surrounding her backyard. Since that time the company has expanded to include approximately 500 fragrance lines and can be found in store across the country. You can buy the Aromatique online here, but if you want to shop local use their retail finder to locate a store that carries their fragrances here.

Vanilla Bean

Does your mom love the simple comforts of life? Is her style simple elegance–€”an intimate garden, good friends and home? I’m betting she’d love a gift of vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting on cupcake stands, a dessert cookbook and Aromatique’s Pure Vanilla fragrance.

Gardenia

Your mom is tranquil and serene, but enjoys a good belly laugh from time to time. Her style is modern and playful with an eye for the classics. She makes great shadow animals and cherishes close friends, family and a fragrant garden. A gardenia in a decorative container along with Aromatique’s Smell of Gardenia.

Hydrangea

A cheery disposition and a great sense of humor set your mom apart. Friendship, honoring the past and the beauty of outdoor living have a special place in her heart. Give your mother a hydrangea shrub, garden gloves, a trowel and fragrance from Aromatique’s Fresh Hydrangea line.

Honeysuckle

Fresh as a daisy with a love of home and hearth describes your mother. Every day is spring cleaning day for her and she’s always working on a project to spruce up her house. She’ll enjoy the fresh fragrance of Aromatique’s Honeysuckle Vine with a bouquet of white roses in a sweet filigree vase.

Celebrating Our Songs

As we approach the July 4th holiday I can’t help but think of Walt Whitman’s "I Hear America Singing"€� from his collection of poems Leaves of Grass. The first line is particularly poignant for me – "I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear."€� I love the idea that each of us has our own melody, don’t you? Our diversity is our strength and our song; from old and young alike; from this land that sustains us, a place of hope and bounty, a land that we love.

What would the words be to your personal anthem? Definitely something to ponder as we celebrate our country’s 239th birthday.

I Hear America Singing

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand
singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as
he stands,
The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning,
or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work,
or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day–€”at night the party of young
fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.
– Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass

Winter Solstice

If you’ve been suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (aka SAD), take heart because the winter solstice is tomorrow. In the Northern Hemisphere it is the shortest day of the year and marks the start of winter. It also signals the beginning of more daylight hours, which is certainly reason to celebrate!

To mark the day I like to get my hands in the soil. Weather permitting, I’ll putter around the garden or I’ll plant something indoors like paperwhite bulbs or some sweetpea seed for placing in a cold frame. At dusk I’ll watch the sunset, turn on the Christmas tree lights and make a mental note that spring is just 90 days away.

Happy Thanksgiving

As a child, I remember Thanksgiving meals at my grandparents’ house. My brothers, sister, cousins, and I would play outside all morning and eat peanuts we roasted over the old wood burning stove. My grandfather grew peanuts so there was always plenty to keep us going until lunch.

Red cheeked and hungry, we would run into a house full of mouth-watering aromas. After washing up, we would all gather around for the meal – we small ones at the kids’ table on the back porch and the adults in the dining room. Before dining in we would stand in a circle holding hands around the “big” table and my grandfather would say the blessing. All the wonderful dishes made it hard to sit through the prayer, but as I grew older I learned to listen to what he was saying and now, as an adult, I hear his words echoed around my own Thanksgiving table. That’s what this celebration is all about, being thankful for the blessings of the year and rejoicing in the bounty of the harvest.

Many members of my family are gone now, but their memories are very much alive and with us on Thanksgiving. Every year I dig out my grandmother’s recipe for corn bread dressing (keep scrolling down to see the recipe) and my sister always makes mother’s cranberry relish. My young nieces and nephews have taken the place of my brothers, sister and cousins around the kids’ table and we’re passing on to them this very American tradition that each family has made into their own.

This recipe is included in my cookbook. Click on the book image to learn more.

Get a copy of my cookbook or see other great seasonal gifts and decor at Shop P. Allen.

Josephine Foster’s Cornbread Dressing

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons bacon drippings

Cornbread:
1½ cups yellow cornmeal
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
2 cups buttermilk

Dressing:
1 (6 to 7 pound) roasting chicken
8 tablespoons butter
3 to 4 celery rind, including leaves, chapped
1 medium onion, chopped
5 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
12 slices day-old white bread, crumbled
1 cup half-and-half or evaporated milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 level tablespoon rubbed sage
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
First, prepare the cornbread batter: Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add the egg and buttermilk, stirring well to combine.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Add bacon drippings to a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet and place in the oven for 4 minutes, or until it is hot.

Remove the hot skillet from the oven, and spoon the batter into the sizzling bacon drippings. Return the skillet to the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cornbread is lightly browned. Remove the skillet from the oven and turn the cornbread out onto a wire rack to cool.

Remove the giblets from the cavity of the chicken (reserve them if you’ll be making gravy). Thoroughly rinse the chicken inside and out. Place it in a stockpot, and cover it with cold water by about 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hours, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender. Remove the chicken and set aside while preparing the dressing. Reserve the broth.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 13 x 9-inch baking pan, and set it aside.

Crumble the cooled cornbread into a large bowl. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the celery, onions, and green onions, and cook until they are tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Then add the mixture to the bowl containing the cornbread. Also add the crumbled white bread, 2 ½ to 3 cups of the reserved chicken broth, the half-and-half, beaten eggs, salt, sage, and black pepper. Mix everything well to combine. Taste for seasoning. Spoon the dressing mixture into the baking dish. Place the chicken on top of the dressing – either whole or cut in pieces. Return the baking dish to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the chicken is brown on top and the dressing bubbly around the edges. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Happy Independence Day: 10 Things that Inspire Me

Happy Independence Day! I hope everyone is staying cool and enjoying their celebrations. I’ve just returned from a trip to Great Britain where I visited some amazing estates and gardens. The trip provided a much needed refill for the old creativity tank, but I’m glad to be back on home ground.

When traveling I do a lot of reflecting. It’s really one of the few times when my attention isn’t pulled in 100 directions so there’s space in my mind for thoughts other than “What’s next?” Maybe it’s because it is July 4th or because I was in a foreign country, but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what I appreciate most here in the U.S. On my flight home I came up with a list of 10 things that I find inspiring about this country.

  • Thomas Jefferson and Monticello
  • Our National Parks System
  • American farmers
  • George Washington and Mt. Vernon
  • Arlington National Cemetery
  • American ingenuity and the free market system
  • Freedom of speech
  • PBS and NPR
  • American armed services
  • Bluegrass music
  • American cuisine (I adore fresh blackberry cobbler and homemade ice cream)
  • Garrison Keillor

What do you find inspirational about the United States?