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A former middle school principal, I am blissfully enjoying retirement with the Headmaster! Thank you for visiting, commenting, and following!

26 January 2013

Hail To the King -- Cake!

Many of you are familiar with the usual King Cake found in grocery stores all over the south at this time of year.  Traditionally, these cakes come out on Twelfth Night and are eaten all during the Mardi Gras season (or until they are gone from the shelves!).  Every grocery store, discount store, drug store, bakery, etc., have them for sale, and they are available for shipment all over the world.  Fillings for these involve a myriad of ingredients, including, but never limited to cinnamon, cream cheese, chocolate, strawberry, blueberry, name a berry, name a confection, etc., etc.!  and of course, a plastic pink baby is (most) always hidden inside; the person who finds the baby usually brings the next cake to the next party!  It's a fun tradition!

Usually, these are just plain too sweet for me.  I prefer the 'authentic' French Galette des Rois, made with puff pastry and filled with an almond paste kind of affair.  I made one last year and am delighted to say that I had a great measure of success, even though I do not bake.  So if I can do this, anyone can!  Of course, you can play with the filling to suit your taste; puff pastry is good with ANYTHING in the center!

If you feel adventurous and wish to try one for yourself, here's one of several recipes available: 

Galette des rois
Makes 8 servings.
2/3 cup sugar 1/2 cup butter, softened 1 cup ground almonds 2 eggs + 1 egg for painting 1 tablespoon rum (optional) 1 pound puff pastry (2 rounds) 1 large dry bean or fève figurine
In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg.
To make the frangipane, blend the butter with the sugar until well combined. Blend in the almonds thoroughly. Beat in the 2 eggs one at a time and then the rum if you are using it.
Roll out half of the puff pastry into a round about 12 inches in diameter. Place it on a wax paper lined baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, paint the outer 1 1/2 inch circumference of the pastry with beaten egg.
Spread the frangipane in a round in the center of the pastry so that it just meets the painted on egg. Press the bean into the frangipane somewhere close to the outer edge.
Place the other puff pastry (rolled out into an equally sized round) on top of the first. Use the times of a fork to press the edges closed. Brush the top of the galette with the beaten egg.
Use a paring knife to etch a pretty pattern into the top of the galette. Traditionally this is in a cross-hatch pattern, or concentric half circles, but you can make up your own pattern if you are feeling creative. Don't cut through the pastry, just etch.
Cut a small hole in the center of the pastry to allow steam to escape. Place the galette in the refrigerator to cool for at least 30 minutes before baking. You can make it a day in advance as well - just be sure to keep it refrigerated.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the refrigerated galette in the center of the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is dark golden brown. Serve warm.
Easy French Food

Bon appetite and laissez les bon temps rouler, y'all!

25 January 2013

Courting Change

We live in a garden home here in Louisiana, so that means a postage stamp yard and not a lot of places for potted plants, flowers, etc.

However, we do have a sweet llittle 'courtyard' thing (actually, it's more like a glorified air shaft) where we can almost all winter enjoy breakfast or dinner out there.  But, lately, it's been getting 'junked up' with pots, plant stands, etc., and becoming a bit crowded.

Now that the holidays are over, one of my main projects has been to take everything off the courtyard and then, very s-p-a-r-i-n-g-l-y put SOME things back.  Yesterday, we took everything off (with the exception of the wrought iron table and chairs) and this is the mess I was left with!

There's the Han, my 'helpful' #1 assistant!!

The charming view from the dining room-ugh!

Lovely, right?

The first step was to thoroughly sweep up all the winter debris and wash off all the dirt from the aforementioned pots.

Already....a LITTLE better!  (Maybe I should just paint the concrete a lovely lime green!)

Next, in order to take care of the lovely GREEN stuff on the concrete floor, a whole lot of bleach (I had to wait for a sunny day so it could really do its job).

Much, MUCH better; all clean...for a while!  Of course, the only reason I'm able to do this is because it's in the MID-SEVENTIES at the END OF JANUARY here.  Blah.

Table, chairs, a temporary centerpiece, and table setting back in place!  Surely does look a whole lot better!

All week I've had in my mind yellow and black, a combination that I have never done.  So, out came the black and white 'tablecloth' (actually a 54" square from HL), yellow placemats and yellow and white china. glassware!

Starting with a white beaded plate....
...underneath a pretty yellow with an interesting border...
...topped with a cute little rooster plate.  Just right for a breakfast al fresco!



Dinner or breakfast for two on a CLEAN courtyard, y'all!

I'll be sharing with:
Metamorphosis Monday
Mop It Up Monday
Masterpiece Monday
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Tabletop Tuesday
Wow Us Wednesday
Cuisine Kathleen
Show and Share
Home and Garden Thursday
Tips and Tutorials
Under the Table and Dreaming
Seasonal Sundays

21 January 2013

Winter Awakening

Finally, after Christmas activity and about two solid weeks of rain, rain, and more rain, I have decided to rejoin the living and breathing!  It has been as hard to get going as it was decorating the house for Christmas. I have a huge laundry list of things to get done in AND out of the house,  and now with the sun shining, I might get to some of them!

This morning, I got a few shots of our resident egret who hangs out at the pond in the back of our subdivision.  We can't seem to get ducks to stay, but this guy seems to like it there.  Egrets are a sort of crane and are everywhere down here!

So, now that I finally have a post up for the New Year, I'm off to clean out the refrigerator!
Look!  A little turtle in the bottom right. We  have TONS of them!
Have a good week, y'all!

 Sharing with some of these folks this week:
Inspire Me Monday ~ Create With Joy
Masterpiece Monday ~ Boogieboard Cottage
Mop It Up Monday ~ I Should Be Mopping The Floor
Mosaic Monday ~ The Little Red House
Show Me What You Got ~ Our Delightful Home
Metamorphosis Monday ~ Between Naps on the Porch
A Return to Lovliness ~A Delightsome Life
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday  Coastal Charm 
Time to Shine ~ A Diamond in the Stuff 
Table Top Tuesday ~ A Stroll Thru Life 
One Project at a Time ~ A Bowl Full of Lemons
Tuesday's Treasures ~ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Show Me What Ya Got ~ Not JUST a Housewife
Be Inspired ~ Elizabeth & Co.
Welcome Home Wednesday ~ Vintage on a Dime
Wordless Wednesday ~ Create With Joy
What's It Wednesday ~ Ivy and Elephants
Primp Your Stuff Wednesday ~ Primp
Wow Us Wednesday ~ Savvy Southern Style 
Show & Share ~ Southern Lovely
Home Sweet Home ~ The Charm of Home
Home and Garden Thursday ~ A Delightsome Life
Tips and Tutorials ~ Stone Gable
Saturday Nite Special ~ Funky Junk Interiors

07 January 2013

BCS Game

As an LSU graduate, I must.... say tonight:


06 January 2013

Twelfth Night!

Hello, and welcome to Twelfth Night!  As today is Epiphany (and on a Sunday, too!), that means only one thing:


That's right!  Twelfth Night is the official start to the Carnival season in south Louisiana!  Mardi Gras occurs early this year, so it will be a short season.  The balls and parades will begin (actually at least one ball in New Orleans is tonight), and the revelry begins from now until Ash Wednesday!

Today at our church, we celebrated Epiphany with the most adorable Epiphany Pageant ever!  Lambs, angels, kings, shepherds....all so adorable.  I've posted a few pictures for you!

So, welcome to the Mardi Gras season and as we say,  laissez les bons temps rouler!  For those of you with sensitive French ears, this is the 'cajun' translation for 'Let the Good Times Roll.!