Archive for Gourmet Food

Mar
25

Hippity, Hoppity, Easter’s on Its Way

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There may still be a chill in the air, but springtime IS on its way….along with one of my favorite holidays…EASTER!

Easter Chalkboard Printable (Brights)

Easter is a time to rejoice, celebrate, and decorate!  Bright combinations of pink, green, blue, and yellow are used to banish the winter blues and brighten our homes both inside and out.  Decorations can be as simple as coloring Easter eggs to designing centerpieces to making your own Easter wreath for your front door!  So whether you’re an amateur or a seasoned professional, surround yourself with the colors of Spring!

easterbanner

Another way to enjoy the holiday is through the delicious smells and tastes of festive Easter treats!  Jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, and of course, whimsical Peeps adorn the Easter baskets of my two little ones, but I crave something a little different!  So this year, I’m trying this new recipe for Bunny Cookie Bark (courtesy of www.yourhomebasedmom.com).  Hope you enjoy it as well!

Bunny Cookie Bark

Ingredients

  • 14 whole Oreos, broken up
  • 1 1/2 C small pretzel sticks, broken into pieces
  • 1 lb. white chocolate, almond bark or chocolate melts
  • 1 C. pastel M & Ms
  • colored sprinkles

Instructions

  • Cover a large cookie sheet with wax paper.
  • Spread broken cookies, pretzels and about 3/4 C of the M & Ms onto the waxed paper.
  • Place white chocolate in a container and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.  Stir and then microwave for another 30 seconds until melted and smooth.
  • Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookie mixture, spreading with a spatula to coat evenly.
  • Sprinkle remaining M & Ms and colored sprinkles over the chocolate while it is still melted.
  • Place cookie tray into refrigerator until set.  Remove and gently break bark into small pieces.
  • Store in an airtight container.

bunny cookie bark

 

I hope the Easter bunny treats you well and please don’t forget the real reason for the Easter season!

~ Michelle

Mary Sherwood Lake Living – Working with you to create your lifestyle!

 

 

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Dec
17

Don’t be a Fruitcake this Christmas!

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As a special holiday treat, Chef Yvonne, Y Cook?,  is our Design Wisdom Wednesday guest contributor today for Mary Sherwood Lake Living.  Her tasty recipes are demonstrated and enjoyed frequently at MSLL during her Cooking Classes! Her classes cover a huge range and brings variety to the table!

Tis the season to be jolly….and fruity!

During the holiday season, we celebrate with family and friends by enjoying numerous food and beverage traditions.  There’s eggnog, spiced cider, candy canes, gingerbread houses, and the beloved fruitcake.

fruitcake

Fruitcakes date back to Roman times when the cake was made with pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and raisins.  During the Middle Ages, honey, spices, and preserved fruits were added.  Crusaders were even known to carry fruitcake during their travels to sustain them throughout their journeys.

Most people have a love/hate relationship with fruitcake.  There are those that love the moist cake filled with delectable nuts and fruits, and then there are those that think of it as a dense “brick”.  So whether you love or strongly dislike the familiar dessert, you will surely love my spin on the well-known tradition.

I’ve transformed the generic fruitcake into a bite-size morsel that is moist and full of flavor.  My take on the traditional fruitcake is the Fruitcake Cookie.

Fruit Cake Cookies crop

Fruitcake Cookie Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. light brown sugar
  • 1/2 lb. butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 ounces pineapple preserves
  • 1 1/2 tbs. Half and Half cream
  • 2 1/4 cups self rising flour
  • 1/2 tsp. soda
  • 16 ounces jar red cherries drained and chopped
  • 16 ounces jar green cherries drained and chopped
  • 1 pound chopped dates
  • 6 cups chopped pecans (walnuts & almonds mixed are a nice change)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. vanilla

Directions:

Coat nuts and fruit with 1/2 cup flour.  Mix butter, brown sugar, eggs, preserves, milk, soda, vanilla and flour.  Pour over nuts and fruit mixture.  Mix with hands.  Drop in large spoonfuls on a cookie sheet.  Bake 11 minutes at 325 degrees (depending on your oven).  You can wrap uncooked dough in saran wrap.  Make into tube shape (like a slice and bake cookie).  Cover with foil and freeze.  They will keep for months.

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Believe me…I’m aware of all of the fruitcake jokes.  “Why does fruitcake make the perfect gift? Because the U.S. Postal Service hasn’t found a way to damage it.”  But please trust me, these cookies are the answer to satisfy even your toughest fruitcake critic.

Enjoy….and Happy Holidays!

Love,

Chef YvonneFruitcake-ycook

Y Cook? 

Mary Sherwood Lake Living

 

Sep
24

Autumn’s Baby “BEE” Shower

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Autumn, her husband Ryan with their surprise guest , Autumn's mom and sister who came all the way from Indiana!

Autumn, her husband Ryan with their surprise guest , Autumn’s mom and sister who came all the way from Indiana!

Buzz! Buzz! This past Saturday we hosted a Baby “BEE” Shower for Autumn and her husband, Ryan who are expecting a little boy this December.  The shower was a BEEautiful sight. Everything came together better than I had imagined. Autumn and Ryan received wonderful gifts and had a surprise visit from Autumn’s mom and sister ALL THE WAY FROM INDIANA! It was a great day and I would like to thank everyone who helped and attended Autumn’s shower.

 Here are some of the highlights from this past Saturday! 

The guest of honor, She loves her sweets!

The guest of honor, She loves her sweets!

How did the “BEE” theme come about? 

Autumn was telling us at lunch that one of her and Ryan’s favorite TV show is Pushing Daisies, where the bumble bee theme derived from.  There are a few quotes the Parents-to-BEE had selected to be placed in the baby’s room which were selected from a few of their favorite episodes.  There is also a custom side table Autumn constructed inspired by a beehive with a tiny bee painted on the top. To see Autumn’s Complete Nursery Click Here!  

Preparing for the Baby "BEE" shower

Preparing for the Baby “BEE” shower

Now, we have the BEE theme… What’s next?

When planning a baby shower having a theme can BEE a great way to give the party a direction. This helps when searching for party favors, decor, your menu, etc. A theme can be anything, the sky is the limit here! All themes don’t have to be so defined, use your imagination here! Something more personal for the mom-to-BEE gives the party that special touch.

Mini Lemon Tarts with Lemon candies striped with chocolate icing to resemble bees!

Mini Lemon Tarts with Lemon candies striped with chocolate icing to resemble bees!

I spent A LOT of time on Pinterest. It’s my go-to place for inspiration and to really see what is out there. In my search, the “BEE” theme seemed to be quite popular. This was a plus because I had lots of inspiration to draw from. Creating a story board is a great way to collect ideas for your party, you can do this on Pinterest or simply collect pictures from magazines. This will also help share your vision with your team as well!

Autumn-baby-shower-scribble

If you haven’t tried Scribble Cloths, your missing out! We used the large chalk board runner for our tablescape. Using a stencil and chalk markers we were able to add bees to our table and cute honeycombs for an added detail.

It’s important to have a team who are there to help you every step of the way to execute the perfect party. Yvonne, Peggy, Lu, Mary and I all contributed to Autumn’s shower. It was great having such a wonderful team to work with. Everyone contributed and no one felt like they did very much, which means a great deal. You don’t want anyone feeling like they did all the work, it’s a team effort! Thank You ladies for all your help, You are one in a million!

Baby Bumble Bee. 

Guest were asked to sign a white matted picture frame which served as our guest book.

Guest were asked to sign a white matted picture frame which served as our guest book.

As I mentioned, adding personal touches is a great way to make the day even more special than it already is! We knew Autumn’s favorite soup is clam chowder. Chef Yvonne created a fabulous clam chowder that was served in mini bread bowls. Absolutely delicious!  Autumn likes sweets too! Autumn would say, “If it’s a cookie it should taste like a cookie!” We added the candy bar and chocolate fountain to the menu for her love of sweets. A bumble bee diaper cake served as our table’s center piece with other delightful bites centered around the BEE theme, complete with mini cupcakes with small bees and sunflowers, chex mix made with honeycomb cereal, and mini lemon curd tarts with bee accents.

Our gorgeous tablescape

Our gorgeous tablescape

Autumn-baby-shower-honey-favors

Mini honey jars, our favors for the baby shower

Baby BEE diaper cake

Baby BEE diaper cake

To complete the “BEE” theme, our party guests received mini jars of honey. We added a custom sticker to the top, with a little bee saying, “It’s a boy!” The mini jars were purchased from one of our vendors, Cloister Honey, a North Carolina honey company.

Autumn and Ryan recently ventured home to Indiana where her friends and family hosted a baby shower as well. At that time, they did not know they were having a boy. So for this shower there were a few necessities for the baby boy that were needed. Also a shortage of diapers was also mentioned! Even though we wanted to have a shower that our clients and customers could also partake in, we did not want them to feel like they needed to bring a gift. A hug and well wishes would have suited just fine! But, we included in our invite that if they must bring a gift, diapers and story books were welcome. The diaper cake contributed to the collection of diapers as well! I love the idea of using books as cards and signing the inside of the book with a surprise message.

Autumn-baby-shower-book-2

Books! Books! Books for the parents-to-bee to read to their new little one.

This shower was certainly Buzz-worthy. It was one the best I have been a part of! It was also great to see the support of our customers, and we have the best of the best! The love and support from our community is fantastic. Thank You again to those who came and spent their Saturday afternoon with us! It was a great time with great friends. We can’t wait to meet the little fellow! Congrats Autumn & Ryan!

 

 

Do you have an experience hosting baby showers or attended one you would like to share? We would love to hear about it! Share with us in the comments below!

Enjoy the rest of your week!

-Dixie K

 

 Mary Sherwood Lake Living -Working with you to create your lifestyle!

 

Jul
23

Interior Designer or Party Planner?

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2014 has kept this girl busy. As Mary would say: “How do you even keep up with your social calendar, I would go crazy!”  You could say I’m a bit of a social butterfly. I love parties, entertaining and being around friends and family. My mom has six siblings. Four of them are my next door neighbors. Naturally we have lots of family events and my house is party central.

This year so far I have helped host four baby showers, a bridal shower,  served as maid-of-honor and attended several other weddings, birthday parties and cookouts. We are only at the halfway point of 2014! I am also a bridesmaid in another wedding in September. I am looking forward to helping host a baby shower for our very own, Autumn Wenger, due in December! However, I’m not complaining! It’s my next favorite thing to do besides designing.

I wanted to share some of the highlights and advice I could give from my experience with these parties. It’s nice to be behind the scenes, I always take mental notes of “what would I have done differently.”

1. Focal Points-something that catches the guest attention

It’s important to have a focal point at your event. This helps bring a “wow” factor to your party. You are certainly welcome to have more than one focal point depending on the size of your venue. Focal points come in all different shapes and sizes. A focal point could be the wedding cake,  a floral arrangement centerpiece or a rustic chandelier placed above the dance floor.

Interior-Designer-Or-Party-Planner-Focal-Points

My Aunt and I created the Wagon Wheel/Mason Jar Chandelier for my cousin’s rustic country wedding this past April. We also created the crystal silver tree centerpiece. It really brought the “Wow” factor and romantic atmosphere to the wedding.

2. Personal Touches-Additional touches that bring out the qualities of guests of honor

I would highly recommend this for your next party or event. Personal touches are a great way to add a special touch to make your event more memorable. Your guest will recognize and appreciate that you went that extra mile adding these into your planning and decorating.

The charming young man holding the sign is my little cousin Chance. He stole the show when he walked down the isle as ring bearer holding these signs.  I love the bottom/center sign. The hors d'oeuvre placed on this table were in memory of past loved ones who couldn't attend this wedding. so special! The fruit bassinet was created in honor of the future Dawson twins and lastly I created the shadow window frame for my cousin's wedding in April.

The charming young man holding the sign is my little cousin Chance. He stole the show when he walked down the aisle as ring bearer holding these signs. I love the bottom/center sign. The hors d’oeuvre placed on this table were in memory of past loved ones who couldn’t attend this wedding. So special! The fruit bassinet was created in honor of the future Dawson twins and lastly I created the shadow window frame for my cousin’s wedding in April.

3. Recruit A Team-Support system

No matter how small of a party you are planning, try to have a team. It’s okay to have a team of one or many, as long as you have someone by your side. I have been very fortunate to have been apart of some amazing teams this year already. It’s always nice to have a second opinion and a second set of eyes. Even if your teammate has possibly never planned a party, surely they have been to one. Their past experiences combined with your expertise makes a great team to help you create an amazing event. You will be glad you had these people to help you along the way.

Cheers to having an amazing team and group of friends to help create these memorable events with friends and family! Again, having a team is a plus when party planning, Nothing wrong with opening a bottle of wine and brainstorming ideas!

Cheers to having an amazing team and group of friends to help create these memorable events. Again, having a team is a plus when party planning, there’s nothing wrong with opening a bottle of wine and brainstorming ideas!

4. Don’t loose sight-Try and remember “Why” you are doing this.

Sometimes the stress of projects can get to us. It’s hard to find time to plan these events between our normal daily routines. It can become stressful and tiring. However, it’s okay to take a break! We need to sometimes take a step back. I have been told many times in design school to walk away from the drafting table, go do something fun for a few hours and then come back to it. It’s almost like getting a second look or putting on a new set of eyes. One more thing you should do is take a moment and think about the people you are having the event for and the purpose. I’m sure there is a special reason behind the madness.  This can usually help push you through.

Here are a few of my reasons "Why" I go the extra mile! When you think of all the hours, late nights, hot glue guns burns, and the million-and-one emails, these people make it all worth while.

Here are a few of my reasons “Why” I go the extra mile! When you think of all the hours, late nights, hot glue gun burns, and the million-and-one emails, these people make it all worth while.

 5. Last but no least-ENJOY!

Once the party planning has come to an end and it’s now the day of your event. However, your behind the scenes duties may not be completely just yet. Please, remember to take a moment and enjoy the event you helped create! This is where you take all of your hard work in. This is important! There’s nothing more satisfying than realizing your efforts are appreciated. Trust me, the smiles you have put on your loved ones faces are a priceless, picture perfect memory. The months and prep for these parties that only last a few hours always seem to go by way too fast! So take a moment and enjoy them!

I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse of some of the parties and events I have helped create! Party planning is my second love right behind design. However, my design degree sure comes in handy. I look forward to the other parties and events 2014 has in store! If you ever need advice or help creating your memorable evening, don’t hesitate to ask!

-Dixie K

 Mary Sherwood Lake Living-Working with you to create your lifestyle on Lake Gaston and Beyond!

Dec
25

Merry Christmas 2013

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Merry_Christmas_Banner

It’s that special time of year again, the holidays. The stockings are hung with care and Christmas spirit is in the air! Loved ones near and far come to together to celebrate this joyous holiday.  We would like to wish each and every one of you,

a very Merry Christmas from our Mary Sherwood Lake Living Family to yours!  

Please be careful in your travels and don’t forget to leave cookies for Santa!  

Here is a little sneak peek from our

Mary Sherwood Lake Living Christmas Party.   Enjoy! 

Merry_Christmas_Trees

Rocking around the banana tree? Yes, Mary doesn’t have your traditional Christmas tree every year.  She likes to think more outside the box. What do you think of her non-traditional tree?  Check out Mary’s blog about non-traditional Christmas trees. http://marysherwoodlifestyles.com/oh-christmas-trees/ 

Merry_Christmas_Napkins    I love when people have interesting or humorous cocktail napkins. They are a great conversation starter! Here are Mary’s from our get together!

Merry_Christmas_PresentsSo many great presents! We opened our gifts before indulging in our fabulous meal prepared by Chef Yvonne!

Merry_Christmas_SleighI even decided to make my Christmas Candy Sleighs!  I featured them in the past Design Wisdom Wednesday on Christmas Party Planning Guide. I think they came out great?  What do you think?

Scallops_sweet_potato_Merry_Christmas_Appetizer

Our dinner was amazing. Chef Yvonne out did herself as usual! For appetizers, we raved over  the Buffalo Chicken dip and mozzarella cheese sticks wrapped in salami on a balsamic jelly. Did I mention the balsamic jelly came all the way from Italy? YUM!  Our first course of the night (shown above) was bay scallops on a sweet potato puree with pickled corn and roasted sunflower seeds topped with micro greens. What an incredible combination!

Lasagna_ Marinara_sauce_cream_spinach_Merry_Christmas_Main_Course

For our main course we devoured this delicious homemade creamed garlic spinach and lasagna. By now my buttons are about to pop off my pants!  But Yvonne’s food is so good, of course I didn’t turn down dessert, especially when we had two choices!  She even let you choose both, if you wanted!  Many of us shared our decadent treats! We had a choice between eggnog bread pudding with an eggnog glaze and chocolate pate with a cranberry coulis. Outstanding!

Merry_Christmas_Chocolate_Pate_raspberry_coulisMerry_Christmas_egg_nog_Bread_Pudding

I am truly blessed to be a part of the Mary Sherwood Lake Living family. I’m the new kid on the block, but I have been so fortunate to have met such wonderful people who I get the privilege to work with. I can not only call them co-workers or my boss, but also great friends!

Merry_Christmas_Dinner

Again, I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas &

a Happy New Year!

-Cheers!

-Dixie K

Mary Sherwood Lake Living – Working with you to create your lifestyle at Lake Gaston and beyond!

Aug
28

Pre-gaming and Tailgating

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It’s that time of year to “Get Your Game On” as you support your favorite team. Tailgating parties can range from a simple cold picnic to an elaborate all day cooking and eating affair. The average number of tailgating events attended by a committed fan is 3 to 4 per season.  The average number of people at a tailgating party is 12 -14.  My brother and his wife live in Blacksburg and are avid Hokie fans.  They set up their tailgate party to welcome back their out of town friends for game day. Here are some tips for successful tailgating.

Pre-gaming prep for your “big” event should include practical and safety measures.

  1. Things to pack: disposable napkins, plates, sturdy cups, utensils and toothpicks.
  2. Bring a plastic tablecloth, clean flat sheet or blanket to lay out your wares.
  3. Have a plan to keep hot food hot or cold food cold.
  4. Consider a variety of finger foods in manageable proportions.
  5. Prepare food ahead of time, pack and be ready to roll.
  6. If you are grilling at your party remember to be safe with charcoal fires.  Bring a small fire extinguisher, just in case.
  7. When covering dishes for transport try these silicone lids that produce a tight seal and eliminate the use of plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
Charles Vianicin, silicone lids, tailgating, party, food

Silicone lids for all your tailgating party dishes!

Even though football games are a Fall sport, many times the Indian summer heat is still around.  There are several new products to help keep the food chilled and safe in transport and during serving.

Brand new to the market place is the Packit freezable chiller bag.  Bye bye to ice packs that only last a few hours.  The bag is the ice pack and stays cold about 10 hours.  Freeze the folded collapsible bag overnight to be ready to go the next day.

Packit, thermal bag, food chiller

Packit chiller bags keep food cold without the need for ice. Pre-chill, pre-game and be safe!

There are many chill and go serving items.  Here are two which use ice in a reservoir under the food to keep food cold.  Arrange your shrimp tray or place your dip in the container, cover and transport in a cooler.  Add ice to chiller, uncover and serve.  How easy!

tailgating, party, chiller dishes, iced dip dish,

This divided dish can double as an ice reservoir for keeping seafood and perishables cold through the pre-game party. Small dip server also uses ice to keep creamy dips chilled.

Wraps are a trendy way to prepare sandwiches.  Here is an easy cold cut sandwich using a mustard sauce as the condiment for safe tailgating.  For the recipe visit Chef Yvonne’s blog:  yvonnecooks.com/wrap-sandwiches-a-safe-tailgate-choice/

Wrap sandwich, parchment paper, tailgating made easy, wrap recipe

Quick and easy wrap sandwiches make prep easy.

Last but not least…always wear your team colors!  If you need help remembering how to be a Hokie, Wolfpack or Tarheel bring these plaques to help everyone in your party recite the rules together.

Collegiate, Va Tech, NC State, UNC, rules, school colors, wall art

Collegiate, Va Tech, NC State, UNC, rules, school colors, wall art

CHEER for your team:

Yell for the (name of your team)
We can’t be beat
So watch out (your opponent)
We’ll knock you off your feet!

What is your special tradition for your team’s game day?  Special t-shirt, special recipe, special team emblem or whatever…

Have a great tailgating day whether watching from your easy chair at Lake Gaston or your favorite stadium lot!

Mary

Mary Sherwood Lake Living – working with you to create your lifestyle!

 

Feb
13

Love is in the Air!

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How can we not talk about Valentine’s Day for this week’s Design Wisdom Wednesday?

Where did the Valentine’s Day customs come from? Find the answer in this interesting article about the origin of Valentine’s Day. http://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day

Here are a few of my favorite tidbits taken from this article.

Valentine's Day, love, birds

It was believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.

Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.

Here are a few easy ways to show your loved ones how much you love them on Valentine’s Day.

Start Valentine’s Day with a special breakfast.  Serve heart shaped pancakes topped with thin slices of roasted pork tenderloin and Tishbi Cherry Shiraz Wine Jelly.  Embellish the plate with fresh strawberries.  It’s pretty and oh so tasty.

pancake, heart shaped pancake, Cherry Shiraz Jelly, strawberries

Valentine’s Day Breakfast

 

If chocolate is the way to your lover’s heart here is a simple recipe for truffles.  Make ahead, refrigerate and impress your loved ones and friends!

chocolate, truffles, recipe

Chocolate Truffles

For you die-hard chocolate lovers, here’s a treat: the recipe for to-die-for truffles. Go ahead… enjoy!

1 (8-oz.) package fat-free cream cheese, at room temperature
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
Cocoa powder (optional)

Combine cream cheese, sugar, cocoa powder and extract in a bowl; freeze mixture 30-60 minutes. Remove from freezer and form into 1″ balls; roll in cocoa powder, if desired. Freeze 30 minutes or until firm.

Makes 40 truffles. Nutritional values per truffle: 60 calories and 1 gram fat.

Heart disease, Go Red, Heart, donation American Heart AssociationA wonderful way to recognize a friend or spouse on Valentine’s Day is by making a contribution to the American Heart Association.  This is the 10th year the AHA has celebrated “Wear Red Day”.  Heart disease is the #1 killer of women. It kills more women than all cancers combined.  Donations support medical research, awareness, education and community programs to help women live longer, heart-healthy lives.

What ever way you celebrate Valentine’s Day put a little romance in your life.  Finish off this special day with a Chocolate Kiss Martini!

Roses, chocolate, chocolate kiss cocktail

Flowers, chocolate and romance!

Chocolate Kiss Cocktail 

Ingredients:

3 T Godiva Chocolate Liqueur

3 T Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur

1 1/2 T Heavy Cream

Chocolate Syrup

Pink Sugar Crystals

Ice

Martini Shaker

Directions:

Fill shaker 1/2 full with ice cubes

Add first three ingredients

Shake to Chill

Rim chilled glass with chocolate followed by sugar crystals

Pour in chocolate liqueur mix

Garnish with a kiss or a strawberry on a pick

Serve immediately and enjoy!

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Mary

 

Mary Sherwood Lake Living…working with you to create your lifestyle!

 

Feb
01

To Market, To Market, To Buy…..

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So the nursery rhyme reads “to market, to market, to buy a fat pig, home again, home again, jiggety-jig”.  Well, we went to market and we’re home again, but there was no fat pig.  There were, however, a multitude of new products in every possible category.

We perused, navigated, and maneuvered as much of the four buildings and seven million square feet of Atlanta Gift Market as we were humanly able.  We were tired, but invigorated at the same time by the many new innovative gift lines, housewares, furniture, and apparel available.  Now we can’t show you everything new that we have coming because that would spoil the surprise,  but we thought a sneak peek would hopefully wet your appetites.

 

scarf, scarves, belt, purse, apparel, clothing

Bright new color combinations and graphic patterns were predominant in the apparel category.

shoe, purse, handbag, sandal

 

Leather, grommets, and attention to details led the design trend for shoes and handbags.

 

jewelry, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, silver, beads

Metallics, classic leathers, and beaded details inspired the direction of jewelry designers.

 

wall art, art, frame, canvas, silver

Large scale canvases and printed metals saturated the wall art category, while colorful, ceramic and meticulously beaded frames were seen in numerous showrooms.

 

furniture, company c, chevron, pillows, fabric

Furniture design and decorator pillows were inspired by bold graphics, contemporary color palettes, textured fabrics, and bright new florals.

 

pot, plant, garden, terrarium, greenery

Self-watering wine bottles, rustic painted ceramic planters, and custom terrariums were highlights of the garden product lines.

 

holiday, pumpkin, turkey, halloween, thanksgiving, christmas, ornament

Fun, whimsical, overscaled decorations helped us make our buying decisions for the holidays!

Since market, we are now renewed, refreshed, and reenergized after a busy holiday season.  We are looking forward to enjoying a successful 2013 with our valued and much loved customers.

Come see what’s new at Mary Sherwood Lake Living!  We’re waiting for you!

Mary

Mary Sherwood Lake Living…working with you to create your lifestyle!

Categories : Design, Showroom, What's New!
Comments (5)
Dec
20

Family and My Christmas

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I am getting ready to travel to one of my favorite places, “Santa” Monica, because that is where I will share Christmas with both our sons and two daughters-in-love.  It should be a great week!  Our times together involve a lot of relaxing, eating and sharing stories with the newer members of our family.  It doesn’t matter where we are, we always find these times together so special.

Last night reminded me of what an incredible acquired family I have right here at Lake Gaston.  We had a Christmas dinner at our house for all the MSLL family.  The wonderful, talented people who surrounded me are truly amazing.  It makes it such a pleasure to come to work each and every day.

Paul, Autumn, Lu, Michelle, Peggy and Yvonne thanks so much!

The rest of my acquired family is every one of you who has supported us, shopped in our showroom, cooked in our new kitchen and asked us to help make your home a comfortable, family place.  We have gotten to know you and your family and friends.  The circle just keeps getting bigger. Thank you for enlarging our family!

Make this a holiday to remember with your family whether acquired or by nature.

Here are a few pictures of our MSLL Christmas party.

Christmas, table setting, centerpiece, place settings, napkins, greenery

The Table is Ready!

Christmas,place setting, napkins, twelve days of Christmas, napkin holiday decoration

Each place with a Twelve Days of Christmas glass so all can sing!

Christmas, place settings, napkins, snowflake ornament

Napkins embellished with snowflake ornaments for guests to take home!

Party, acquired family, cocktails

Gathering together!

Holiday dinner, candlelight, friends, family

Enjoying a fabulous meal prepared by Chef Yvonne of Y Cook!

Food, Y Cook, scallops, cured beef tenderloin

The incredible food prepared by Chef Yvonne.

Menu, Y Cook

Our menu by Chef Yvonne and topped off by Steve Hoffman’s “melt in your mouth” Cheesecake with Cherry Zabaglione Sauce. WOW!

Have a wonderful holiday!

Merry Christmas!

Mary

 

Working with you to create your lifestyle!

 

 

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Dec
13

Don’t Get Your Tinsel in a Tangle…

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Shopping for a special gift for that special someone?  Looking for the ideal present for the person who has everything?  Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle.  Allow Mary Sherwood Lake Living to help you compile the perfect gift basket.

Are they a wine enthusiast?  We can combine our E-Z Grip Wine Bottle Opener, Wine-A-Rita Drink Mix, and a package of festive napkins to help them celebrate.

 

Do they enjoy mixing a cocktail or two?  We can combine our Mini Red Ice Bucket, Mini Red Cocktail Shaker, and a jar of Pickle, Olive, and Pearl Onion Cocktail Stirrers to help them conjure up their concoctions.

Are they the chef in their household?  We can combine our famous Captain Rodney’s Boucan Glaze, a White Rectangular Baker, and a Knotted Spreader to aid them in preparing Captain Rodney’s Cheese Bake (recipe included).

Do they just deserve to be spoiled?  We can combine our Azalea/Ruby Dot Glittens (glove and mittens combination), Leopard Ballet Cozy Slippers, and a Jeweled Photo Frame to help comfort them.

Still stumped?  Come visit us at Mary Sherwood Lake Living or give us a call at 252.586.2437 to help you with just the right combination for the loved ones on your list.

Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping from Mary Sherwood Lake Living!

Mary

Mary Sherwood Lake Living working with you to create your lifestyle!

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Dec
04

Creative Holiday Cooking

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With the holidays quickly upon us, everyone is eager to make a meal plan that will provide their family and friends tasty dishes with minimal prep and stress.  This Saturday, December 8th, our favorite local chef Yvonne Hoffman will be having a Home for the Holidays Cooking Class at Mary Sherwood Lake Living at 10 a.m.

She will be serving a crowned pork roast with cornbread, apple, and pecan filling, brussel sprouts salad with a lemon vinaigrette, and sweet potato hash along with other ideas to accent your holiday meal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, coming up on Tuesday, December 11th, Chef Yvonne will be providing seasonal breakfast and brunch ideas to warm you and your family.  Please give us a call at 252.586.2437 to reserve your space for either class and savor our variety of delectible holiday samplings.

 Mary

Mary Sherwood Lake Living working with you to create your lifestyle!

Categories : Cooking
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Mary Sherwood Lake Living raised salads to another level on Monday, September 10th, with the help of chef Yvonne Hoffman and Tisa Lynn, a sales representative for B.R. Cohn Winery & Olive Oil Company.

As an alternative to replacing the olive-stained carpets in his home on the Sonoma Valley estate vineyard known as “Olive Hill” for the 140-year old Picholine trees that graced the property, Bruce Cohn began pressing the unique olives, inspiring a California olive oil Renaissance. As if managing The Doobie Brothers for over 30 years and starting the B.R. Cohn Estate Winery in 1984 didn’t keep Bruce busy enough, a new family business was inadvertently born.  In agreement with our own “professional” taste test, www.consumerreports.org named B. R. Cohn as one of six highly rated oils with a “Very Good” status.

Yvonne showcased the B.R. Cohn gourmet wine vinegars in several of her recipes including a Flatbread Salad, an Asian Salad, a traditional Caesar Salad, and a refreshing Watermelon Salad.

watermelon, salad, gourmet, vinegar

Watermelon Salad

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups watermelon cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 4 ounces feta or goat cheese (Yvonne recommends an herbed goat cheese)
  • 1/4 pound prosciutto cut into thin strips
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp Champagne Vinegar (manufactured by B.R. Cohn)
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil or other unflavored oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Salad greens
  • 1/4 cup roasted nuts (Yvonne recommends pistachios)
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced (optional)

Directions:

  1. In shaker bottle, mix Champagne vinegar, honey, oil, salt and pepper. Shake well and put aside.
  2. In salad bowl, put greens, prosciutto, salt and pepper, toss with a small amount of dressing, enough to coat, but not drip.
  3. Plate with greens first, then cheese, and then watermelon, top with the rest of dressing.
  4. Add other salad items as you like.

Recipe by Yvonne of Y Cook

Check our calendar for upcoming  cooking and community events.  Registration is required to reserve your seat!

Hope to cook with you soon!

Mary

 

Mary Sherwood Lake Living working with you to create your lifestyle!


Categories : Cooking, Special Events
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Mar
22

A 3 Pepper Blast Party

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WOW-another fun event at MSLL. The food was fabulous, the CAbi fashion was great and fun was had by all.  Thanks Peggy Howard for the fashion and Autumn for the kitchen assistance.

I have been (willfully) coerced into publishing the recipes from tonight’s Fun, Food and Fashion event  ASAP. 🙂  One of the girls is dying to recreate the party appetizers for an upcoming event.  Here is the simple, throw together, easy party menu.

It all begins with one key ingredient…3 Pepper Blast Dip

dip, pepper dip, party, food, fun, easy recipes

Menu

Toasted Flatbread Wrap Chips with Magic Unicorn Salt

3 Pepper Blast Cheese Dip

Chicken and Cheese Roll-up Wraps

Puff Pastry Peach Cobbler Tarts with Vanilla Ice Cream  (recipe not included)

 

Recipes:

Toasted Flatbread Wrap Chips with Magic Unicorn Salt

Use the flatbread wrap of your choice (available in the deli section of our local FL).

Lightly coat one side of the wrap with seasoned vegetable spray or a light brushing of olive oil

Add a light sprinkle of the flavored Magic Unicorn salt (remember it’s magic!)

If you are out of “magic”,  any salt or seasoning of your choice will work

Cut into squares with a serrated knife or pizza cutter.  The squares do not have to be perfect.

Place on parchment paper covered baking sheet.

Bake 10 – 15 min at 350 degrees.  Ovens will vary so at 10 minutes check for crispness and light browning.  Do not let them get too brown. Let cool on baking sheet.

One flatbread wrap makes approx. 36 chips.

Serve with 3 Pepper Cheese Dip.

 

3 Pepper Cheese Dip

8 oz  Cream Cheese or Reduced Fat Cream Cheese

8 oz  White Sharp Cheddar Cheese

1  12 oz jar of 3 Pepper Blast Dip

Let cream cheese soften.

Grate white cheddar cheese.

Combine the cheeses and the 3 Pepper Blast Dip.

Serve with Toasted Flatbread Wrap Chips with Magic Unicorn Salt.

Ingredients can be cut in half to reduce quantity of dip.

Full recipe serves a crowd.

 

Chicken and Cheese Mini Roll-up Wraps

Flat bread wraps

3 Pepper Blast Cheese Dip (from recipe above)

4 Chicken tenders lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, sautéed and finely chopped

½ cup grated white cheddar or Pepper Jack cheese

Optional extras:  chopped cilantro, green onions, sliced avocados

Spread one side of a flat bread wrap with 3 Pepper Blast Cheese Dip, keeping dip within about 1” of the edge of the wrap.  Layer on top of dip about 2 tablespoons of chopped chicken, sprinkle with grated cheese.  Roll the wrap and secure with 4 mini skewers or bamboo knot picks.  Trim unfilled ends, if necessary.  Carefully cut remainder into four equal pieces.

Place on parchment covered baking sheet.  Drizzle each mini roll up with 1 teaspoon salsa and a sprinkle of grated cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 -15 minutes.

Garnish with more salsa, if desired.

Each wrap makes 4 mini roll-ups.  Repeat as needed.

 

Have a blast at your 3 Pepper Blast Party!

 

 

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Oct
05

Pink Pumpkin Party at Lake Gaston

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What is a Pink Pumpkin Party? It is a party to honor and remember all the women in our lives who have fought the fight of breast cancer.  Saturday, October 15th, we’ll paint pumpkins pink, fix some pink wine-a-ritas, eat some pink food and help to raise money for breast cancer research. What could be a better way to help a cause that has touched us all.  This event is dedicated to my mom, Frances Peed, who was a 20 year breast cancer survivor!pumpkins, pink, breast cancer ribbon,benefit, lake gaston, mary sherwood lake living

Traci, Autumn and Mary will be busy painting pink pumpkins. Ribbon, paint, and markers will be available for you to decorate your own pumpkin if you like. The small pre-painted pink pumpkins or the pumpkins you decorate will be sold for a $10 donation to Susan G Komen for the Cure.  We will even have a special pink pumpkin filled with lots of MSLL goodies to be raffled off to raise more contributions.

One other item we’ll have available is Say I Won’t Beat Cancer t-shirts. This company is owned by Brett Walker, Joyce Walker’s son. (Yes, our Lake Gaston Weight Watchers lady) His company routinely supports good causes like this. We will have a very limited supply on hand. If you would like to pre-order a t-shirts or tank for $15.00 in your size please contact us.t-shirt, say I won't, cancer, benefit, lake gaston, mary sherwood lake living

Don’t miss the fun!

Saturday, October 15, 11 am – 3 pm.

You might take home the special pink pumpkin!

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Mar
17

Hey good looking what ya been cooking?

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Cooking classes may seem like an unusal offering for an interior design business. Think again!  What do interior designers do?  They create spaces in which to cook, to entertain, to play, to sleep and to be with family and friends.  To do all of this we have to eat.  (I think you can see where this is going.)  So, cooking classes seem to enhance all the other parts of interior design. 🙂 Thanks to many loyal supporters our classes have become a hit.  Here are a few of the things we had cooking at our 50’s cooking class presented by Lake Gaston’s cooking diva, Kathy Dikeman!!!

If you are as old as I am you may remember a lemon flavored, sponge cake cookie made in shell shaped molded pans called madeleines. These cookies are easy to prepare and perfect for a light luncheon dessert or an accompaniment to a raspberry sorbet. Sometimes these cookies are partially dipped in chocolate ganache for extra flare of flavor.  In the 50’s they were frequently served at department store tea rooms and at  “ladies’ luncheons”.

Cookies, sponge cake, luncheon dessert, molded pan

Madeleine's made in molded pans

Shrimp Cocktail Aspic is an updated version of the traditional tomato aspic of the 1950’s.  With V 8 juice and the right amount of spice this recipe made a tasty cold soup (similar to a gazpacho).  With the addition of more gelatin you can create a variation of this recipe which can be poured into a mold or loaf pan and congealed before serving.

Savory Shrimp Cocktail Aspic

The favorite recipe of the class was Smoked Gouda Cheese Fondue. Reflecting back to the days of the fondue pot this recipe adds a new twist. The fondue is prepared on the stove top and served in individual small boules created from whole wheat, crusty dinner rolls from the grocery bakery. Topping the fondue with bacon bits and toasted, sliced almonds made this recipe the winner.

fondue, gouda cheese, bacon, almonds, boule,

Warm and Savory Smoked Gouda Fondue Boule

Smoked Gouda Fondue

Ingredients:

8 ounces Gruyère, shredded

1/2 pound, about 6 ounces, smoked Gouda, shredded

1 rounded tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 large clove garlic, smashed away from skin

2 tsp. lemon juice

3/4 cup dry white wine

6 slices thick cut bacon

1/4 cup smoked almonds, coarsely chopped

Individual hard rolls, the top third cup off to form a cone shape in the inside

Directions: Make the fondue: combine cheeses in a bowl with flour and set aside. Rub the inside of a small pot with smashed garlic then discard. Add wine and lemon juice to pot and bring to a bubble over medium heat. Reduce the heat to simmer and add cheese in handfuls. Stir constantly, melting the cheese in batches. Stir in a figure-eight pattern with wooden spoon. Transfer the fondue to the rolls and top with chopped bacon and smoked nuts.

50’s cooking trivia was a big hit with the class.  The Betty Crocker Cookbook was the bible of the 1950’s kitchen and the “in” way to find recipes. Do you know the first Jello flavor?  What was the most frequently prepared food?  What popular snack food was developed from a crop by Fred Mennen in 1959?  What brand of doughnuts were introduced in 1950?

Send us your answers.  Add your own 50’s trivia.

Upcoming Cooking Classes…  Mark Your Calendar!

April 16 Bruschetta is not just an Appetizer presented by Yvonne Hoffman (just back from an Italian Cooking School)

June 4 Cranking Up the Heat with Grilling Flare presented by Gene St.Clair

Mary Sherwood Lake Living working with you to create your lifestyle at Lake Gaston and beyond!

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Jan
25

Slipping and sliding into the New Year!

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Time flies when you are having such a good time!   Just a little over a week ago we were slipping and sliding into Atlanta to attend the January market.

ice, Atlanta market, Atlanta

Slip, sliding away!

We started our first day at market with a “man on the street” interview with Susan Dickenson, retail editor for Home Accents Today magazine.

Home Accent Today magazine, man on the street at Atlanta market, Lake Gaston girls

Autumn, Lu, Traci and Mary at Atlanta market

She grabbed several retailers to get a sense of the retail climate and their market plans. Thanks Susan for including us in your daily market issue. Read our comments and those of other retailers:  http://bit.ly/gbW9Kq

At this market we plan our showroom strategy for the New Year.  Color is an important element in our showroom so we always reference the Pantone Color of the Year.  The color for 2011 is Honeysuckle, a bright, saturated pink.

pantone, color for 2011, pantone color of the year, honeysuckle

Love the Pantone Color of the Year for 2011

As we purchase for spring and summer we select items that coordinate with this year’s new color.  This really helps us focus on accessories and gifts that are color forward.  If you are interested in learning more about Pantone’s2011 color forecast check out this link:   http://bit.ly/eu2SLd

color, decorative tabletop, turquoise, pink, red, festive, floral, ceramics

Festival of table top color!

Funny Faces for Summer

Ah, Spring!

Ah, Spring!

Another big purchase category on our list is Holiday.  The January market introduces the new looks for 2011.  We develop a plan for how many trees, what themes and what colors we will use.  Purchasing in January guarantees we will be able to receive our selections by late summer and avoid sold out items. The use of large ornaments and objects on trees with a focus on one prominent color is one new emerging trend.

holiday color 2011, pink, turquoise, large ornaments

Color forward thinking for Holiday 2011!

holiday 2011, whimsy, Christmas accents, new for 2011, large ornaments

Whimsical elves and large ornaments are big for Holiday 2011

This market also is our source for our summer fashion accessories, apparel and shoes.  Here is a sneak peak of some of the new looks!

clutch,purse, rose floral accents, bright colors.

Rose wristlet clutch in bright colors. The "new" accessories for spring 2011.

coverup, flip flops, beach bags

Outfits for fun in the sun!

To cap off our shopping frenzy we taste and select new gourmet food items.  This is good and bad.  Great to find new product but hard to go through the many food displays and be selective with what you sample.

vegetables, canned vegetables. pretty vegetables, gourmet foods, tasty

Yummy, colorful, healthy and pretty...could these veggies be good for you too?

Market is an exhilarating experience!  New products, new colors, new styles always start the design juices flowing.  Tired bodies, tired minds and achy feet must be worth it because we keep going back.

travel, baggage, Atlanta

Glad we didn't have to push this load through market. Four women just don't know how to travel "light"!

You can experience a little of our market experience through our blogs and Facebook posts without the physical and mental strain.

Did you see the “Honeysuckle” color keep poping up in these pictures?

Tell us your favorites of our new products to arrive over the next few months!

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Jul
21

Hot ‘lanta…7 Categories-Oh My!

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As of today I think I am back up to normal speed after a whirlwind trip to the summer Atlanta Gift and Accessory Market.  Four days of non-stop shopping for “the next best thing” to bring to you in Lake Gaston.

I have been to this market too many times to count (twice a year equals almost 50 times…yikes!) At the end of this excursion I realized why it has become so much more difficult. (I have aged but I would never admit that is to blame!)

Many years ago we were attending markets to spot new trends, stock a small retail boutique and make purchases for clients.  With our expansions and growth over the years we now shop seven categories at the Atlanta Market Center.  No wonder our list is so long, our feet are worn out and our brains are fried!

These pictures show a few tidbits of the items we purchased in just three of the seven categories.  Let us hear about your favorite piece.

Enjoy!!!

HOLIDAY CATEGORY

holiday tabletop, bright colors, Christmas, glass platter

Festive Holiday Glass Platter

penquins, salt and pepper shakers, black and white

Cute little penquin salt and pepper shakers to hang out with the snowman dinnerware!

christmas dishes, snowmen, black accents

New contemporary snowmen holiday dinnerware which easily pairs with white dishes

holiday, rug, small, machine wash

Assymetrical whimsy adorns this washable floor mat

FASHION ACCESSORIES CATEGORY

Jewelry, fashion accessory, pearls, necklace, earrings, bracelet

Bangles and baubles for holiday attire!

wallet, fall fashion, skins and animal accents, fashion accessories

Wallets with embossed, shiny finishes are hot for fall!

UNIQUE GIFTS CATEGORY

cheese knife, saw, garden trowel, his and hers, serving utensils, cake knife, cake server

"Garden trowel" cake server and "saw" cake knife make a great his and her gift!

solar wind chime, sun, moon, green design,

Sun and moon solar chimes powered by the sun!

picture frames, whimsical, fish cat , dog

Whimsical picture frames for your favorite child or pet!

clock, frog, whimsy, brand new

Funky frog clock catching the dragon fly will make anyone smile!

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