Friday, March 20, 2015

Green Chilies Cheese Grits Casserole

As a celebration of the first day of Spring, our district office staff had a "Spring Has Sprung Brunch".  We try to get together for food and fellowship several times a year.  We all work in the same office building, but rarely eat together.  As I have shared with you in the past, I am a psychometrist for a large school district on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  One special thing about our district office is that we never begin a meal without stopping to bless our food and pray for our students and staff.  A terrific place to work!
We had a huge variety of brunch foods to sample today.  Luckily, we have some fabulous cooks at the district office. I decided to bring a Green Chilies Cheese Grits Casserole.  It is a simple, but delicious recipe. Nothing better than that!  Southerners eat grits anytime of the day...breakfast, lunch and/or supper!  Shrimp and grits are one of my favorite dishes, but just a good ole plain bowl of grits with butter, salt and pepper for breakfast can't be beat.  This recipe is a twist on a cheese grits casserole.  Let's get started!

The Starting Line-Up:
3 cups of water
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of quick cooking grits
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of butter
3 tablespoons of chopped green chilies
1-1/2 cups of cheese, sharp cheddar, divided
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup of milk
In a large pot, bring to a boil 3 cups of water with 1 teaspoon of salt.  Slowly stir in grits.  Reduce heat and continue cooking, stirring frequently for 4-5 minutes as the grits thicken.  In a separate pan, saute minced garlic with 2 tablespoons of the butter until softened.  You can actually skip this step and add the raw minced garlic to the grits, but I like to saute the garlic. It seems to take away the bitter taste of raw garlic.  When the grits are cooked, remove from heat and add the garlic and the remainder of the butter.  Now add 1 cup of cheese and three tablespoons of green chilies, mixing all ingredients well.   At this point, you can do a taste test to check the flavor, adding salt or pepper as needed.  If you want to kick it up a notch or two (think Emeril Lagasse), add red pepper flakes or a little Tabasco.  

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl beat two eggs with the milk.  Add the egg and milk mixture to to the grits, mixing thoroughly.   Pour into a greased 2 quart baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remainder of the cheese.  It will smell wonderful!  Serve warm.
This dish serves 8.  It would also be terrific as a side dish with a meat and vegetable for dinner. Let me know if you try it and what you think.  Happy Spring Everyone!
Blessings from Still Woods Farmhouse
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Sunday, March 15, 2015

A St. Patrick's Day Tour of Ireland

St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner and I would love to visit The Emerald Isle. Have you traveled to Ireland?  It is at the top of my "to do" list.  Why don't we travel there together?  Our first stop will be one of the country's most visited natural attractions. The Cliffs of Mohr were carved out over 320 million years ago by a large river delta.   The views from the cliffs are breathtaking.  
(Photo Credit Atomicpuppy 68 via Flickr)

Dunluce Castle will be our next stop.  The first castle of Dunluce was built in the 13th century. A legend told of the castle is that due to erosion, the kitchen once fell into the sea taking with it some of the kitchen help.  The lady of the house refused to live in the castle after that.  I think I would tend to live in the rooms on steady rock! Another legend surrounding the castle is that a soldier was carried to the depths of the sea by a beautiful mermaid. These castle walls have also seen many battles and sieges over many years.  
I hear that no trip to Ireland is complete without a stop at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. The present day building dates from 1220.  One of the first public clocks in Dublin was placed on the side of the Minot's Tower in 1509.  The cathedral has ongoing renovation which you can see to the right of the picture.  
How about another castle for the next leg of our journey? While the oldest parts of the castle date to the 12th century, Malahide Castle has served for nearly 800 years as a fortress and a private home to the Talbot family.  The last Talbot's left the castle in 1975.  It is thought to be the oldest Irish castle continually inhabited by the same family.  
Let's step inside the castle.  This is the great hall at Malahide Castle.  It received a renovation in 1825, but the frieze is made of carvings dating to the 16th and 17th century. It is said that on the eve of the Battle of the Boyne (July 1, 1690), fourteen members of the extended Talbot clan sat down for breakfast in the Great Hall.  Only one of the fourteen returned from the battle.  
(Photo Credit:  Malahide Caste and Gardens)
Ireland is know for it's amazing country side.  The Ring of Kerry is a lovely drive encompassing some of the most beautiful sites in Ireland.
There are several Victorian mansions in the area around the Ring of Kerry.  The Killarney Manor House is available as rental property.  Property information can be located at Killarney House Rental.  If mansions are not your style, the Ring of Kerry boasts numerous bed and breakfasts and quaint cottages for your stay.  
(Photo Credit:  Luxury Manor Houses)
Let's stop at Trinity College in Dublin.  The college was founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592.  Below is a picture of the Long Room built between 1712-1732.  It houses 200,000 of the libraries oldest books.  The Long Room is a little over 213 feet in length.  Look closely at the bottom of the picture and you will see a collection of marble busts which line the Long Room.  The collection began in 1743 when 14 busts were commissioned  from sculptor Peter Scheemakers.  The Long Room also houses important memorabilia of Ireland, including a harp dating from the 15th century.
I found this little castle several years ago while researching Ireland and historic places to rent. According to their website, the castle is a five story, 16th century towerhouse.  It was the ancient seat of the Comerford clan and is located about 5 miles south of the medieval city of Kilkenny. The castle has been restored to its former authentic glory using the same techniques and materials as the original 16th century builders. Doesn't it sound like a romantic getaway?
Hope you have enjoyed our tour of Ireland.  As for my house, we will celebrate our Irish heritage as we do each year, with an authentic Irish meal.  Contributions must have Irish roots. Everyone who attends has a leprechaun name tag and we call them by their leprechaun name the entire evening!    Click here for the link to the Leprechaun Name Generator .  Mine is Shamus McFits!
If you don't have time for an Irish dinner, make sure to watch The Quiet Man.  This is one of my all time favorite movies.  It is a wonderfully, romantic movie staring John Wayne as Sean Thornton and Mauren O'Hara and Mary Kate Danaher.  A delightful character in the movie is the spirited Michaeleen Oge Flynn played by Barry Fitzgerald.  For the second year in the row, Turner Classic Movies will not be playing The Quiet Man!  What a travesty!   It is the best St. Patrick's Day movie ever!  Luckily, if you belong to Netflix, it is streaming for all to enjoy:)
It is only fitting to leave you with this beautiful Irish blessing!  Happy St. Patrick's Day and Blessings from Still Woods Farmhouse
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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Delicious Strawberry Cobbler!

I made a strawberry cobbler after church this past Sunday.  Our youngest is home for spring break and I made some of his favorites for Sunday dinner.  He loves strawberries and a strawberry cobbler seemed like the perfect end to a yummy meal.  It is a very simple, but satisfying recipe.
Fresh Strawberry Cobbler
3/4 cup self rising flour
1 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of milk
1 stick of butter
3 cups of strawberries, washed and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup of sugar for strawberries

Wash and remove stem from strawberries.  Cut strawberries into chunks.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of sugar over strawberries, turning strawberries to coat with sugar.   Set aside.
Place one stick of  butter in a casserole dish.  Place the casserole dish in the oven, allowing the butter to melt while preheating the oven to 350 degrees.  In a separate bowl, mix together 1 cup of sugar with 3/4 cup of self rising flour.  Slowly pour in milk, stirring until just combined.  After butter is melted, remove the casserole dish from the oven and slowly pour the batter into the dish.  Do not stir.
Gently spoon strawberries on top of the batter. Do not stir.  Do you see a pattern here?
Place back in the oven and cook for 45 minutes.  I wish you could smell this!
Cobbler is best served with vanilla ice cream.  Doesn't it look delicious with the ice cream melting and making a river of goodness?  So get yourself a bowl and spoon up a generous helping of warm, delicious cobbler.  Don't forget to add a scoop or two of good vanilla ice cream.  Add a cup of coffee and enjoy!!
Blessings from Still Woods Farmhouse
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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Ready for Spring

"For the winter is past and the rain is over. 
The flowers are springing up and the time of singing birds has come..." 
Song of Solomon 2:11-12

I know my family and friends in Maine and Virginia are ready for the snow to disappear.  Have faith, spring is right around the corner.  Now is a great time to plan your spring door decor!  To give my winter weary friends a little inspiration, I put together a few cute ideas for your front door!

We grow hydrangeas in our yard.  I think hydrangeas are heavenly!
You can pick up a bundle of tulips at your local craft store and whip up this happy wreath in no time!
This Southern Living radish wreath is one of my all time favorites.  
What about this cute idea? 
We have double doors off our front and back porches.  This is quite a lovely design from "Housepitality Designs" and would look wonderful at Still Woods.
Pinterest abounds with terrific ideas like this happy display!
Or this one...
"Whole family strong" created this adorable, whimsical wreath.  Now where is that extra hose I saw while cleaning out the garage?
Hope this inspired you to think about your spring door decor.  Wishing everyone warmer days ahead and blessings from Still Woods Farmhouse!
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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Thoughts

The turkey is roasting happily in the oven, the pecan dressing is waiting to get toasty warm, the myriad of sides are waiting for their turn in the oven and the pumpkin pies are baked.  The tables are set with a variety of gourds, candles, fall foliage, and my Johnson Brothers His Majesty china; otherwise known in our family as the infamous "traveling turkey dishes"!  More importantly, upstairs sleeping are my sweet boys home from the big world and college.  My heart is full!  I thank the Lord for His goodness, mercy, and grace.  I wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving!
Blessings from Still Woods Farmhouse

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Supporting Ronald McDonald Houses

I don't know about you,  but I have already planned my Thanksgiving menu.  Do you need a little inspiration?  Look no further than this post!  It's that time of year again when Dillards, Southern Living, and McDonalds team up to create a cookbook to support Ronald McDonald Houses.   McDonald's does three things really fries...and more importantly, their development and support of Ronald McDonald Houses around the world.  Ronald McDonald House charities offer families a home away from home while the family is dealing with a sick child.  RMH belief is that families should not worry about where they will lay their heads at night or where their next meal will come from while taking care of a sick child, often far from home.  They have helped families with ill children for the past 39 years.  What a blessing for families dealing with a child's medical crisis.

Our youngest child was born over two months premature.  He was hospitalized in the NICU  at Ochsners Hospital which is an hour and a half drive from our home.  We were offered the assistance of the Ronald McDonald House for the duration of his stay in the hospital.  We were able to make the daily drives back and forth, but it was comforting knowing that if needed, they were there for us. I recently made my annual trip to Dillards.  I not only picked up a terrific cookbook at a bargain price of $10.00, but also helped support this wonderful organization.  Let's get some ideas for your holiday dinner table!

I was excited to see that this years edition two sections.  One is a Christmas cookbook and the other is year-round celebration ideas.  All of the photos in my today's post are from Southern Living and the photographers names were noted when available.  When I grow up, I want to be a Southern Living food photographer!
Let's take a look at a sample of the delicious recipes found in this cookbook!  Great meals always start with an appetizer.  How about a yummy cheese ring with strawberry preserves and crackers?  For all you vintage gals, this is something you might have seen at a 1950's dinner party.
This appetizer is right up my alley.  I love pepper jelly and combined with goat cheesecake on a little crust...yum!
Lately I have been craving olives.  I would be happy with a serving of citrus-marinated feta and olives.
Let's check out a few side dishes and salads.  Who wouldn't like to see creamy-fried corn on their Thanksgiving table?  Let's all say "Yum, yum"!  I am adding this to our table this year.  
I love refreshing salads.  A fresh pear and green bean salad with sweet and spicy pecans topped with a sorghum vinaigrette would be delicious.  
My husband will not eat cornbread dressing...I know, he doesn't know what he is missing!  I must always make sure that mashed potatoes are a part of our holiday dinner table.  Southern Living offers a buttermilk mashed potato recipe with five twists ranging from smoky sweet potato bake to bacon and blue cheese bake.  Trust me, plain ole mashed potatoes is all the Mr. Still Woods will eat!
My boys and I love roasted vegetables.  How about cranberry-roasted winter vegetables this year?  What a beautiful display for your table!
We always have turkey as well as ham at our Thanksgiving table.  Southern Living always offers a variety of ways to prepare meats.  I am not one to cook with bourbon and would probably subsitute with a meat stock, but this turkey apple bourbon turkey looks delish!
If you are having a small gathering, fig and balsamic glazed quail would be wonderful.  The quail can be substituted with cornish hens.
Another option is a nice roasted chicken.  This one is complimented with sweet potatoes and apples.
I don't know about you, but I am ready for dessert!  Often, I am so full from dinner that I can barely eat dessert.  What a terrific time for Bosc pear dumplings.  These look so good!
A tiramisu layer cake is a show stopper. Three layers of cake soaked in coffee syrup and topped with mascarpone frosting would tempt anyone!
For the chocolate lovers, a peppermint-hot chocolate cake will be appreciated.  I think this would also make a wonderful addition to your Christmas dinner table.  
A pumpkin-pecan cheesecake topped with praline topping and glazed pecans is a must.  Doesn't this dessert make you wish you could grab the piece through the computer?
I hope I have given you some ideas for your Thanksgiving table.  Please head down to your local Dillards and support Ronald McDonald Houses and their fabulous work with a purchase of a fabulous cookbook.  I have looked at mine over and over.  Stop back by because I will be sharing brunch ideas from this years cookbook in a few days.
Blessings from Still Woods Farmhouse

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Vintage Happy Hallowe'en!

I love sharing vintage cards with you and Hallowe'en is no exception. Why don't you grab a cup of warm apple cider, sit in a comfy chair and enjoy the beauty of vintage cards?

Isn't she sweet?  You may notice that earlier spellings of Halloween have an apostrophe between the e's of the word Halloween.  This comes from an earlier term of "All Hollows' Even".  "Even" was the term for evening.  Eventually, the "all" was dropped as well as the "s" in the term hallows.  The "v" was replaced with an apostrophe and the term became "Hallowe'en".  This particular spelling was observed as far back as 1786.
This one is from the early 1900's.  The color is fabulous. She reminds me of an actress from the 1920's.
 Vintage cards have the best graphics.  These little girls are in for a fright!
How about a romantic card for someone special? 
I have two boys, so I am always drawn to cards for little boys!
You don't want to read this card before going to bed.  I bet anyone who did was not peeping through the curtains!
Aren't they cute?  Ruby cheeks, button lips, and chubby knees!
Beware!  Take care! 
We move from a "jolly" Hallowe'en to a "merry" Hallowe'en.  Of course black cats, brooms and pumpkins are always popular graphics in vintage cards. 
This one is hilarious!  Notice the crank for the auto!
Here is a Halloween game, complete with a spinner.  I would not be able to do #12 without my reading glasses!  Read #8!
This is a beautiful card. You do not find many Halloween cards with light blue backgrounds.
Here is the same cat and owl from the card above, but facing forward. 
This is a very old card.  Fay is another word for fairy and obviously helped with the rhyming!
I saved the best two for last! I like the cute, little mother owl.  Reminds me of Miss Hickory in a way!
This little "punkin" is adorable! Doesn't she look like a Kewpie doll. They were first produced as bisque dolls in Waltershausen, Germany in in 1912, so she may just be a Kewpie Hallowe'en card.