Sunday, December 14, 2008

Finally, the Dining Room

First, allow me to apologize for my extended blog absence, the season has provided us with a many long day, and even longer nights. One of those long nights - Friday - Scott and I had the pleasure of meeting a new couple and reconnecting with friends of ours who are often out of town. We spent the entire night, well into Saturday morning, talking about anything and almost everything, so we decided to invite the four of them to our home for dinner tonight.

I planned a white flower arrangement in a great planter Scott bought for me this fall in a summer clearance sale. So I went out and bought white roses, white carnations, white poms, and white mums, baby's breath and white Asian lilies - and for contrast a few lime poms, eucalyptus and pine winter greens.

An hour later...
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The table was set for 8, individual votive holders held floating Asian lilies, our new sage napkins resting behind them on the salad bowl. The arrangement of course was much too large for the table with the very elaborate menu Scott provided ... so it left before we all sat down to eat, but for at least a moment, it was the beautiful center of our dining room.

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Here you can see the Russian paintings Scott picked up in St. Petersburg a few years ago. I've left them unframed, as they're quite raw, and I think it adds to their character and charm.

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The shot, from the living room, provides a view of the tree topper: white magnolias and bronzed fern leaves.

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Our new curtains were a nice addition this year. I felt like they really lighten up the dining room, and work well into summer.

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This photo of the tree (no lights) was taken last night at a separate dinner party where we entertained our best friend "Margaret" and wonderful friends we haven't seen in ages. I cooked for that party, so the table setting was much less elaborate.

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A table shot of the arrangement. I like it low like this. If our food hadn't become the center piece once we all sat at the table, this would have been a good conversational height.

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And finally, the last photo. We certainly had a wonderful time, though fitting eight people in our dining room isn't an easy thing to do. Scott made a wonderful dinner:
  • Fresh spinach and mixed spring greens salad with honey raspberry vinaigrette dressing, topped with almonds, dried cranberries, and feta cheese
  • Spiral Cut ham, cooked in orange and pineapple juices, served with a warm cranberry and apple cobbler as garnish
  • Balsamic Bacon Green Beans and Red Peppers
  • Sweet Potatoes with Walnuts
  • Garlic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
  • Spinach "No-Fall" Souffle
  • Vegetable Casserole (for our vegetarian guest) with mushrooms, peppers, potatoes and more
  • 7-Cheese Crusted Penne
  • And you can't forget those fresh yeast rolls

Our guests brought the wonderful dessert:

  • Homemade oatmeal-peanut butter cookies with and without trail mix
  • Chocolate Covered Pastry Puff with Bavarian Cream, served with coffee and a choice of Irish Cream or Mint-Chocolate flavored liquor
  • Baked Sampler, made especially for us by our first-time guest, Katie

We had a wonderful evening, and of course you all have a standing invitation - 7 at a time please!