Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Easter Snippets

I like the word "snippet".  It means a small piece or thing.  I love things!  Today I thought I would share a few Easter snippets with you.  This Easter tree sits in a milk glass hobnail vase not far from where I am writing to you.  Hanging from its limbs are my boys' first Easter eggs which have their names and the year of their first Easter. Sweet memories! The frame holds a picture of my mom and her older sister, my Aunt Ginny, sitting side by side in their spring attire.  Mom's arm is a blur, so she must have been trying to escape while her sister is holding on tight!
My mantel is simply adorned with a cross, spring flowers, and candles.  I display crosses throughout our home all year.  They are a constant reminder of the sacrifice that was made for you and for me.
On the piano is a favorite of any little ones who gather around our home.  It is a happy, bunny village.  Everyone is ready for the big day at Easter Town!
My husband loves trains, so this is for him...
I am a big fan of Aunt Ruthie at Sugar Pie Farmhouse.  One year she had an Easter display consisting of a pair of very ladylike gloves, the kind all women used to wear to church.  Alongside the gloves perched a  pretty Easter hat.  I loved the display and kept the idea in my head.  I picked up this pair while antique shopping in Mobile, AL.  To add to this grouping, I have a Bible awarded to my mother on July 15, 1951 at a church function.  The Bible is open to the story of the crucifixion and a youth revival order of service from Chattahoochee, FL is placed to the side.  My mother played the piano at this and many revivals at her church.  I love the symbolism of each item.  
This little piece has been my favorite for many years.  I can't remember where I purchased it or how much it cost.  I only know that I love it. This bunny and his little chick friend are nestled among my milk glass. 
 This sign hangs on a door welcoming all to Still Woods Farmhouse. I picked this up at a boutique for $5.00!
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."  I am so thankful for God's eternal love. 
We are off to the River Road country of Louisiana to visit a beautiful sugar baron's plantation and eat at a local restaurant on River Road.  I will share some of today's adventures with you later!  Until then, have a Terrific Tuesday!
Blessings from Still Woods Farmhouse

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!
Let's Party!
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