Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hyacinth's at Easter

It is no secret that I am a big fan of Mary Carol Garrity and Nell Hills, but if there is anyone who could give her a run for her money, it is Hyacinth, AKA Yia Yia. She was doing Mary Carol, Martha Stewart, and Paula Deen before they even thought about it. I have always thought she needs her own show. I am very thankful to have her in my life and as a mentor in my decorating. She is an inspiration!

Of course, I immediately went out and bought a rabbit to put into a lantern. My rabbit is very similar. Unfortunately, the rabbit didn't fit in my lantern. Note to self: work on that for next Easter.

Hyacinth's florals are amazing. They are all custom, and many have come from a cute little store called the Ginger Jar.

Easter springs up in unexpected places. This one appears on the piano. It is not overdone; it is just enough to remind you of the season.

Add touches of Easter or any holiday to elements that already exist, such as adding the eggs to the candle in the lantern. Take it away quickly once the holiday has passed.

If you are going to hang pictures of rabbits, make sure they are fat rabbits. We do not like scrawny rabbits!

A topiary in the bedroom? Well, of course. Bring touches of nature into every room.

Layering is key. Mix styles, shiny and rustic. Use books to add height to background pieces. Again, use greens and natural elements to highlight the pieces.

Add a tassel to a lamp. It adds a touch of whimsy. Also, search out unique lamps. Even Hobby Lobby has unique lamps, so don't be afraid to choose a funky lamp or switch out a shade.

Be sure you consider decorating from every angle. What does it look like in the front and sides?

Group like objects or collections together. Multiples of anything always look good together.

Use decorative jars in the bathroom. Okay, Hyacinth's bathroom is more like a spa. Getting rid of store packaging can jazz up any product. A pretty glass decanter is always impressive.

Look to the past for inspiration. This Greek inspired bust adds just the right touch in the corner of the whirlpool bath.

Keep sponges and soaps in apothecary jars. It keeps them all together neatly, and it looks fantastic. Plus, they are handy if you need them for a bath.

Rocks in the sink are said to keep your luck from washing down the drain. Plus, it is a pleasant surprise for your guests.

This is my favorite mirror. Hyacinth told me she bought it for 50 cents at a garage sale, and it was quite grungy. But with a little elbow grease, it looks like a million bucks. Notice the skeleton keys tied with a ribbon. I stole that idea! :-)

Statement pieces are always great. If you purchase one great item, it can really stand out. Don't be afraid of a bold color. I have a green Kitchen-aid Mixer that I absolutely love.

Fruit adds a touch a color, and it is inexpensive. Load up next time you go to the market. Lemons, limes, and green or red apples all work well.

Fill apothecary jars with a variety items, and change it out regularly. Fruit Loops breakfast cereal in an apothecary jar? Why not? It frees up cupboard space.

Cooking oils and condiments that you use regularly should be placed near your workspace. Use a pretty tray, and display them proudly. Everyone will think you are a gourmet even if you are not.

Don't neglect the tops of cabinets. They can offer tons of space and store items that you don't use often, such as large serving trays. Group like items--notice the grouping of silver items. Just don't forget to polish.

When you are not using the apothecary style beverage holder, why not fill it with Easter eggs? Or fruit? Or Jelly Beans?

Again, layering is key. Though it is hard to see in this pic, there is an original, unframed oil painting of fruit behind the hot chocolate pots.

Stacked books add height to this topiary, filling an empty corner. Use cookbooks in the kitchen area.

Greenery on rustic columns or in pots makes for a cheery look in the dining room. The plants don't all have to be real. Vary them.

A vintage French candy scale. I say Candy is a good thing. Look for bulk quantities of candy at a reasonable price at places such as Big Lots.

Need inspiration? Look to the French. The Fleur-de-lis is a classic decorating shape.

Candles and clocks are staples. Plus, if you want to change them, they can be swapped out quickly to fit the season. Try birds on top of the candle holders instead of candles, or a bird's nest.

Feathers in a floral display add an unusual look to any floral arrangement.

Don't forget the birds. You must have birds in the design. Mary Carol would agree.

Birds at a different angle.

Another view of the birds.

Even the lamp has birds as part of the base. I warn Hyacinth that one day I am going to try and steal this lamp! I LOVE IT!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Taco Soup and Baked Chicken Taquitos

Baked Chicken Taquitos

Recipe by: Our Best Bites and Feature on Life as a Lofthouse.

2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
5 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tbs fresh lime juice
1/2 c green salsa

1/4 tsp minced onion
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 c cilantro, chopped
2 tbs green onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
20 corn tortillas

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and spray with cooking spray. In a large bowl, Mix the cream cheese, salsa, lime juice, onion, chili and garlic powder and cumin.
Then add the cilantro, green onion and cheese. Add in your shredded chicken last, and mix well together.
Heat your corn tortillas in a microwave by placing them in between damp paper towels and heating for 30 seconds at a time so their easy to roll and wont crack. Take one tortilla, spreading about 3 tbs of the mixture on the lower part of the tortilla. Roll up, and place seam side down on the baking sheet. Continue with all 20 tortillas. (Make sure none of the taquitos are touching or they will stick together while they bake) After they are all rolled up, spray them with cooking spray. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges are golden brown! Serve with salsa, sour cream or whatever your heart desires :)

Taco Soup

Recipe by: Gail H.

1 lb. hamburger
1 medium brick of Mexican Velveeta
2 Cups of milk
1 Can Ro-tel
1 Can of Black Beans, drained
1 Can Hominy, drained
1 Can Corn, drained
1 Can Navy Beans, drained
Cornstarch and cold water if needed

Brown hamburger. Add remaining ingredients and cook until melted. If it seems too thin, add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in a couple of tablespoons of cold water.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Black & White Turkey and Chicken Chili

Recipe from elian1 on


2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 whole Onion, Chopped

2 cloves Garlic, Minced

1 pound Chicken Breasts (I used 4 chicken tenders.)

½ pounds Ground Turkey (I used a pound.)

1 can (16 Oz. Can) White Northern Beans, Drained And Rinsed (I didn't drain or rinse.)

1 can (16 Oz. Can) Black Beans, Drained And Rinsed (I used Pinto Beans and no draining or rinsing.)

1 can (8 Oz. Can) Salsa Verde

1 can (16 Oz. Can) Fire Roasted Tomatoes

1 can (8 Oz. Can) Diced Tomatoes With Chilies (I used Original Ro-tel, but go with mild if you don't like as much heat.)

1 can (8 Oz. Can) Mexican Niblet Corn

½ cups Fresh Cilantro, Chopped Fine

1 can (14 Oz. Can) Chicken Broth

1 can (4 Oz. Can) Diced Green Chiles

¼ teaspoons Ground Cumin

½ teaspoons Ground Coriander

½ teaspoons Dried Oregano

¼ teaspoons Chili Powder

1 teaspoon Lime Juice

2 dashes Salt To Taste

2 dashes Pepper To Taste

Preparation Instructions:

In a Dutch Oven, heat oil and brown the ground turkey. Remove and drain on paper towels. Next brown the cubed chicken on low heat for 15-20 minutes. Add the onions and garlic during the last 10 minutes. Cook until chicken is done. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Add the liquid ingredients to the Dutch Oven and bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.

Add corn, chicken, garlic, onions and beans and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add all the other ingredients and cook on low, uncovered, until chili cooks down to desired consistency, usually 1-2 hours. Stir occasionally.

If the chili needs thickening, add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to 4 tablespoons of hot chili broth together in a separate cup. Stir until all lumps are gone, then add the mixture back to the chili. Stir until the chili thickens, usually 2-3 minutes.

This can be served alone, over rice or with shredded cheese, sliced avocados, and sour cream and tortilla chips.

Hot Panini!

For Christmas, I received this fabulous cast-iron Panini grill pan. It makes terrific sandwiches. Here is my version of the Panera restaurant breakfast Panini.

Homemade Breakfast Panini for Two


4 slices of sourdough bread

2 eggs

2-4 slices of cheese (American, cheddar, or Swiss—whatever you prefer)

½ pound of thinly sliced turkey

4 Tablespoons of butter, softened



Non-Stick Cooking Spray


In non-stick skillet, fry eggs in a tablespoon of butter—set aside. Heat grill pan. Before placing Panini on grill pan, you will spray with cooking spray. Assemble the Panini by layering cheese, egg, turkey and a bit of salt and pepper. The salt and pepper is a little trick I learned by watching Panera make my Panini. It adds a little something extra. Butter the outer sides of the Panini bread. Place in grill pan. Weight it down by placing a heavy skillet wrapped in aluminum foil on top of it. Let it cook for a few minutes. Once you have some nice grill pan lines on the Panini, flip it over and cook on the other side. If you like, add tomato slices or even grilled onions. Whatever suits your fancy. You can’t mess this up. If you don’t have a Panini grill pan, just use a skillet. You won’t have the pretty lines, but it will still taste delicious.