Gift Guide: The Hostess

One of the best parts of Christmas is making someone's day.
Any of these are perfect for the hostess with the mostess.











Make sure to stop by loulousucre.com for all of your holiday gift needs.
Our holiday special starting December 1st is Free Shipping 
with any $50.00 purchase.








Holiday Inspirations

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at my house,
and
while I'm working day and night decorating my own house for the holidays (just kidding) I thought that I would share a few spaces that inspire me.

Each is so dreamy and cozy.
Beautiful textures and layers.

I only wish  (if money , space, and time were no option)...



via


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via

How's your holiday decorating coming along?


Thanksgiving Recipes

I'm so excited.
For the first time in 12 years I am not hosting Thanksgiving.
I didn't really think that I would be at first, but now I am so thrilled.

My house is a mess, I've been working until dark every day this week, and I only spent a little bit at the grocery store this week to make my small Thanksgiving contribution.

So since I won't be sharing with you any of my tables or new recipes I thought I would give you a few ideas of what you can contribute to your Thanksgiving meal (if you haven't decided yet).



Gorgonzola Grilled Pear Crostini
Cheddar Walnut Crackers
Green Bean Casserole
5- cheese Macaroni and Cheese
Potato Gratin
The Potato Gratin is my contribution this year, also the turkey, which my husband is cooking on the Big Green Egg.  
He is so excited.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

Our New Floors

This past weekend my husband went fishing.
I must say that he probably had one of the best weekends ever.
He caught a lot of fish and he came home to this---




Brand new hardwood floors throughout our foyer, dining room, family room, and hallways,
and he didn't have to do anything at all to get them (except pay).

I, on the other hand, handled the supervision of installation all weekend long.

It was  hard work, but somebody had to do it!!!


Your welcome, honey!!!


My New Recipe Index

When I had my blog redesigned I wanted a recipe index.
I contacted a few designers to get some quotes and I was told that a recipe index like I wanted would cost anywhere from $1000-$2500.

Say what???

So what's a girl to do??

Make her own!!!!

This is a quick and easy tutorial for a recipe index for someone with no computer/web design experience at all.
I'm sure that there are many ways that you can make a recipe index and maybe someone else has made one that is much easier and better, but this one works pretty well for me.

Here is what mine looks like and how you navigate it--

First, choose "recipe index"


It will take you to the recipe index page


Next, the index is broken down into categories


Lastly, choose the recipe you want.  
Each is represented with a picture of that recipe.



Once you choose your recipe it will take you to the page with that recipe.

So there you have it -- a simple and easy recipe index.

Hopefully, I will be ambitious one rainy day and will be expanding my categories to include kinds of food and by ingredient, but for now it is very simply categorized.
The beauty of this index is that you can make it however you want.

This index was pretty simple to build.
Here is how I did it.
First, you need a site to set up your food index on that is separate from blogger.
The reason for this is that you need more pages than blogger will give you.
I used a site called Weebly, but you can use any site that you like.

I chose Weebly because it is very user-friendly and free (the best part).
The site offers tons of free page designs and the parts are all drag and drop.

Next, I connected the site with the recipe index tab on my home screen.
This part was a little tricky.


Fist, go to blogger and open your layout, then choose edit on HTML/Java Script.


Mine looks like this--
 <li class="first"><a href="http://www.yoursite.yourhost.com">recipe index</a>
     </li>


I basically used what my web designer used to connect my other pages to the tabs and copied it.

I'm sure that you could add it to your side bar with a picture or text link with the same sort of code.


***Please remember that I have no web design experience and cannot help you if you mess up something on your site--
please save everything before changing any code so that you don't mess up your blog!!***

Hope this tutorial is easy to understand and helps you to build a simple recipe index without breaking the bank!!

Chicken Stew with Biscuits

I'm finally starting to feel a little better from my recent spell of illnesses
(latest was a sinus infection and ear infections). 
Now that I'm feeling better, and at home, I am going stir-crazy.

I can't really take on any house projects (see yesterday's post here).
So cooking it is.

Today all I wanted was something warm and comforting.
I found this recipe online and it sounded wonderful.

I was inspired.
I changed the recipe quite a bit, and I truly can't imagine how it could be any better
(no offense Ina--you know I think that you are pretty wonderful).




Chicken Stew with Biscuits
(adapted from Barefoot Contessa)


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 cups of chicken stock
2 tablespoons chicken base (or 2 chicken bouillon cubes)
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon cajun seasoning (I used Tony's)
1 pound baby yukon gold potatoes
1-16 ounce bag of frozen peas and carrots
1 can biscuits (I used Grand's)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Fill a large pot with water and season with salt and pepper or cajun seasoning.  Boil your chicken until done, about 10 minutes.  Remove chicken and place on a plate to cool. Once they are cooled, cut into bite size pieces.  In water, cook potatoes for about 5 minutes, just until fork tender.  Remove from water and allow to cool.  Cut them in half.

In a small sauce pan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the chicken base.  In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes, until translucent.  Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.  Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce.  Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick.  Add the milk and cajun seasoning.  Next add the chicken, carrots, peas, and potatoes.  Mix well.  Place the stew in an oven-safe dish and bake for 15 minutes.



Once the stew has cooked for 15 minutes, top with the can of biscuits.



Return the stew to the oven and allow to bake until the biscuits are done (about 15-20 more minutes).



Enjoy,

This Is How My House Looks Right Now...


Sorry for the lack of blogging lately.

I've had a temp of 102 on and off for almost a week and my house looks like this...


No floor covering-just bare concrete, boards to be painted on saw horses, and stacks of hardwood floor in the dining room.

Yes, we are in quite a construction zone.
I am very, very, very happy about it though.

Even sickness can't diminish my happiness about the new wood floors that are soon to be in my main living spaces!!!

I'll post pics soon of the new space.

Hopefully by then I will also be on the road to recovery--
this cold season has definitely kicked my rear!!!




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