Cheesy Pull Apart Bread

This house on “the Forest Hill” was packed with energy and festive events last week. I had the five year olds for Grand and GrandDad Camp, a childhood friend here from Shaker Heights, and the Queen Peggy’s 95th celebration of life! And in the midst of it all, the children managed to create a wonderful bread concoction! It’s play time, so follow the trail below…

16 oz round sourdough bread
Stick of butter
2  t minced garlic
1 1/2 t Italian seasoning (or equal parts of dried basil, parsley, and oregano)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3 Tbs chopped parsley, divided

Preheat the oven to 375°.
Place the bread on non stick sheet pan.
Cut a grid on the bread by creating vertical cuts, stopping before you hit the bottom crust. Repeat the cuts in a horizontal manner.
Place butter, garlic, seasoning, and half of parsley in small sauce pan.
Heat until butter is melted.
Drizzle butter into crevices of bread.
Gently stuff cheese deep into crevices of bread, and sprinkle of top.
Wrap bread in foil to cover.
Bake 10 minutes, then uncover and bake an additional 12 minutes.
Sprinkle with remaining parsley, and serve.

Bread by Lucy, Parker, and Peg. Sculpture by Jeff Kiefer.

Sculpture, Lilies, Silver

Just a little post to enjoy until I can share the AMAZING floral arrangements we have been enjoying in Bangkok. Orchids. Orchids. Everywhere. AND, Karen and I are headed to a private three hour class with the chef here at Anantara in just a few minutes. More to come! Until then…lilies-in-silver-service-ii

Recently I was yearning for a low, wide look for a few lilies I had on hand. All of my containers were too bulky for the task; so wandering around the house in search of something anything, it suddenly clicked as I entered my dining room. I borrowed pieces from my silver service and took them right into the sun-room and plopped them beside the sculpture by Jeff Kiefer. Set your silver free and use it all around the house!

Decorating with Cacti

1 Living Room IINeed a really quick arrangement for a bare spot in your home for the Holidays. Tomorrow is Rush Rush Rush Day… So, stop by your garden center or floral shop and snag a cacti. Plop it in a ceramic, glass, or silver container…and voila! You better not watch, You better not cry, You better not pout, I’m telling you why…cacti, that’s why.  Easy Breezy! See you on the other side of Christmas you all.

Ho Ho Ho! Hope you are a jolly ole soul!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Flower Arranging in Hotel Rooms, part one

From Phone 929Warning…I’ve done this a time or two…and a LOT this particular past spring and summer, all for joyous family celebrations. Jump along and take a gander. This was Brenton’s 30th birthday in DC. You may be wondering why I put myself through this exercise; the truth is that when traveling to these bashes I like the way my arrangements turn out a bit better than those of an unfamiliar florist. Now don’t give me that you crazy person look! Pic on the left is of one of my work buckets in the loo of our room at the fab Hotel Monaco. Request from the birthday gal…peonies and hydrangeas, also my favorites!

Another work bucket and 2 completed arrangements on the bench in background.

Another work bucket and 2 completed arrangements on the bench in background.

IMG_4815And here are a couple of the completed arrangements placed in the lovely courtyard of the divine Co Co. Sala, venue for the celebration.

The bar!IMG_4822IMG_4835




The Bride (T) and Groom (T) with the Groom’s Parents.

Sometimes Stars Just Align! As they did for TandT. So this past weekend we threw a partee to celebrate this bride and groom to be (thank you Jackie for sharing your magnificent home)! Served a few of our favorite things, yessiree; so I’m just going to hook you up with one of my personal favs, a bit of a surprise at a cocktail buffet. Gotta get your “starch on”! But first…a couple of pics from the partee!

Thank you Miss Bethel for the Gorgeous Arrangements!    Photograph ©PEGhardee

The Bride and her Sister!

The Bride and her Sister.  (Look at those smiles. I mean these gals should be in print ads for a dental practice…umm…I know just the right practice!)

It was the Sister's 18th, so we Made a Cake and Sang!

It was the Sister’s 18th, so we Made a Cake and Sang!

Sweets for the Sweet!

Sweets for the Sweet! (Thank you Mr. Shakespeare!)

Drum Roll...the Potatoes!

Drum Roll…the Potatoes!

Mini Potatoes with Cheese and Bacon
24 small white or red potatoes
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
8 strips precooked bacon, warmed and crumbled
1/2 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
3/4 cup grated Monterey jack
3 Tbs chopped green onion

Preheat oven to 400°.
Line baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Boil potatoes for 8 – 10 minutes, or until tender.
Drain and allow to cool.
Cut top off of potato.
Scoop out part of center of potato, leaving 1/4 inch wall.
Combine cream cheese, sour cream, half of the bacon, salt, and pepper.
Add additional cheeses, and onion, and stir.
Spoon mixture into potato shells.
Top with remaining bacon.
Place potatoes on prepared baking sheet.
Bake 15 – 20 minutes, until lightly browned.
Sprinkle with pepper and serve.

Note: If using as an appetizer rather than as a dinner starch, I cut the potatoes in half rather than just slicing top off, before prepping, for a smaller bite.

PS…I did not use bacon this particular time as we were serving yummy brown sugar, maple syrup bacon as well! But that’s for another time.

Here are the taters with bacon!

Here are the Taters with Bacon!

Birds of Paradise, and More

Birs of Paradise I

Patrick Mavros sterling creatures on the right, one of Kate and William’s favorite things! More on that later!

Gray and her sweet Liam were in ENC from Boston for 72 all too hasty hours a couple of weekends ago. So we had ourselves a mojito party, ok, a “show off the darling 2 year old” party! I wanted flowers, but couldn’t dare to take precious time away from “sweet cheeks” (nod to Bonny!) to create complicated arrangements; so I came up with these simple ones to dot around the house. Worked well and took all of 10 minutes! Did a bit more for the dining room center piece; but, silly me, I forgot to photo that! Placed both the bar and nibbles on dining room table so as not to have a lavish spread for a 5pm Sunday afternoon party. Simple, casual, still stylish!Hawaiian flowerAND…here is “sweet cheeks” himself!

My First Ever Jelly Beans!  Thanks Grand!

My First Ever Jelly Beans! Thanks Grand! Yellow Jelly Bean Goop in Teeth to Prove it!

Liam Kicks

KIIIIIIYYYAAAAAAA…or however you spell that!

Liam Gray

Sweet Mommie and “LiBam! (for the times that he BAMS things!)

Liam Lips

Kisses to Grand and GrandDad

Camera Ready Centerpiece

Peg and Tena arrangementRemember the revealing supper party?  Well, that baby is almost here!  And last weekend we showered the parents-to-be with BBQ.  OK…gifts too!  Tena and I came up with this arrangement for the head table. Remember, it was an outdoor bar be cue, so it needed to be elegantly rustic. Hint…long picks, oasis piled high and a potted gerbera daisy simplify the process!Peg and Tena arrangement II

Floral Philosophy II ~ Ode to Lou!

Happy Anniversary Gray and Marc!!  I think the second call I made after telling my parents about Gray’s engagement was to my dear friend Lou. I think it went something like “HELP!  We have a wedding in DC.  Can you be chief of flowers? Please, Please I beg”!   With not even a second of hesitation, Lou said “Yes of course”!  She suggested that I begin by scouring over books.  The Brit floral designer Paula Pryke became my new “bestie” as I was trying to develop a feeling for the flowers in Callaway Chapel, Episcopal High School, and the dinner afterwards at Anderson House in DC.  Her book Wedding Flowers became my manual for several weeks as Lou and I developed a plan.  Chapel Flowers

The Chapel design was a cinch, as there were strict policies about what could be used.  We brought the two urns and pedestals from home.  The flowers were given by family friend Parma in memory of my father who had died suddenly two months earlier.Bridesmaids bouquets

Lou used all fresh pastel colored roses for the bridesmaids bouquets.  I remember walking in to a bathroom in the suite on Saturday morning and there to my surprise was an entire tub filled with roses soaking, waiting for their master Miss Bethel to come cut and bundle them!  Gray wanted a simple bouquet, as her dress had a gold cummerbund, and her veil was intricate Belgian lace that my parents had secured while in Brussels years before.  So, thank you Lou and Paula for the miniature calla lilies idea!Bouquet

Anderson House Ballroom

Anderson House Ballroom

Anderson House Winter Garden

Anderson House Winter Garden

Anderson House is so fabulous and historical that the design path became clear to Lou after her visit there.  We wanted family and friends to soak in the beauty of their environs; so we found aged looking containers for the tables where we nibbled our dinner prepared and served by Steve Dunn, owner of Well Dunn! Catering.  Lou, and her team of volunteer friends (nod to Tena, Frances, Catherine, and Su-Su!) incorporated peonies into those arrangements as they are among my favorites and it worked perfectly.  Magnolia filled the cavernous fireplace…I still am not certain how Lou managed to stack the limbs so elegantly and high!  And I remain a bit saddened that the photographer didn’t document all of this beauty in depth. (We won’t name that gal!)  At least it’s all ingrained in memory…9 years ago today!

Flowers on tables

After completing all twenty plus of the arrangements for the dinner and cabaret tables (above), then Lou knocked herself out for a stupendous arrangement in the Case Room, and an astonishing urn of spring happiness for the terrace bar.  I’m still amazed at the shear genius and enormity of those arrangements.  WOW!!!  Cheers to Lou, pictured below. *Note: The only photo of this arrangement was taken by an old school cell phone (remember this was nine years ago…there was no iPhone), hence the graininess in quality.  Thank you Helen for capturing this splendidness!

Lou and David with Flowers

Flowers outside