Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Here Comes the Sun: A Late Winter Tablescape

After a week of rain and gloom, here comes the sun.
To celebrate, I made lunch and set the table. These activities are soothing, almost like playing, and they have a way of turning a mid-day meal into an occasion.  As light blasted through the windows, I listened to Celtic music and gathered dishes.

Joy can be found in simple pleasures ...
setting the table
arranging flowers
and humming. 

Do you find this to be true, too?

Like my Mimi used to say, even plain, ordinary food tastes better when the table is set.

My mother believes that tiny details make a big impact. She believes in shopping your house and using old things in new ways.
You don't need to live near a HomeGoods (I've never been to one...but I have an idea that I'm missing out on Dish Nirvana; I need to find a nearby store--soon!).
Until then, a table can be embellished with edible objects.

But what about the rest of it?

Thankfully, my mother is a font of homespun wisdom, and she explained
the tablescaper's secret weapon: white, mismatched dishes.

They can be bought all at once (see the Gollum Dishes,) or collected over time. I found the white Clairmont dishes in 2009--at Big Lots.

For another look at mixing and matching dishes, check out "Dinner for Eight," or What to Do When Nothing Matches.


Orange-Roasted Chicken (cooked over a mirepoix)
Asparagus Tart
Sliced Tomatoes drizzled with low-carb honey dijon dressing
Low-Carb Finger sandwiches
Guilt-free angel food cake
Orange slices
coffee ~ sugar free iced tea

Rattlebridge Farm Asparagus Tart
                                              serves 4 to 6

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 c grated cheese
1 bunch asparagus, washed and trimmed
egg wash

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sprinkle flour over a sheet of waxed paper. Place thawed pastry onto the sheet and gently roll the pastry into a square. Pierce the bottom with a fork and place into a tart pan or baking dish. Brush egg wash over edge of pastry. Spread cheese over bottom of dough. Arrange asparagus spears over the cheese in a wagon wheel pattern (or place them in a linear shape--cut the asparagus to fit the shape of your pan). Bake 18 to 20 minutes.

Rattlebridge Farm is all about simple food.
Even when I'm not pressed for time, I like to serve this light, no-fuss cake. It won't win a beauty contest, but it's heart-healthy and (almost) sugar free.
Rattlebridge Farm's Guilt-Free Cake
                                                                     serves 6

1 "no sugar added" angle food cake (grocery store)
1 carton sugar free cool whip

"Ice" the cake with Cool Whip and garnish.
Yep, it's that easy. I used oranges because my husband was craving them. In the past, I've garnished angel food and pound cakes with fresh flowers HERE and HERE. Just place a small juice glass in the center of the cake. Add water and a bouquet. I've also cut the cakes in half and spread the surface with sugar-free pudding and sliced fruit.

I love dishes, but I'm not a seasoned tablescaper. My floral arrangements are hit or miss. It helps to see the humor in tablescaping.

Life is not a magazine shoot. Real life is messy and perfectly imperfect.

Real life is gravy on the tablecloth and clutter beyond the camera's view. But it's nice to have a sunny spot, a place to putter, relax, and spend time with family.

Here Comes the Sun is a Tablescape Thursday contribution.

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  1. Beauty, beauty, beauty! I love your pretty table setting! The dishes are gorgeous and everything else. Sunshine is certainly shining on your tablescape. Now if I could just pop over for dinner! :)
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  2. I love this table. The light on the orange is gorgeous. And the table is magnificent.

  3. Beautiful table captured in amazing pictures. I wish this were my menu tonight. Pat yourself on the back and take a bow, you deserve it.

  4. Award winning gorgeousness.

    It is so perfect, wow, like absolutely PERFECT!

    The asparagus dish looks to die for.

    I need to get to cooking more, this new blog life is sneaky, isn't it? Wants to steal my time and energy, haha. Well it also gives much as well, such as your amazing inspiration and perfect beautiful photos.

    Thank you!

  5. Great table. Perfect for a winter's day. I love the mix of white. It is amazing how they always work. It is funny that you've never been to a HomeGoods. I can walk through their aisle, not buy a thing and get an immediate lift. It's just filled with stuff I love.

    I'm a bit confused. Is this photo at your new home? It's a beautiful window. Are you all settled and moved in? I miss your beautiful staircase and patio.

    - The Tablescaper

  6. Oh, I'm sorry--didn't mean to confuse anyone. We're still at Bald Hill. We can't move to Rattlebridge until the property has been securely fenced (and we need a barn for the critters). I will miss this staircase and the sunlight, that's for sure!

  7. What a beautiful tablescape, Michael Lee. Your aspargus tart is stunning, as is the sugar-free cake...YUM!! I was so pleasantly surprised to find a package on my porch with my give-away win! I can't wait to read "The Welcome Home Garden Club", by Lori Wilde. Oo-la-la, there was also a container of Vineyard Gardens Four Salts! I look forward to using those delightful morsels. Thank you so very, very much!! xoxoxo

  8. It is so refreshing to see such a cheerful table in the winter months...reminds me of sunny Florida..Your table looks "perfect" to me...Love the way you layer the white dishes so eloquently...

    I must try that asparagus tart at my next ladies lunch...I love the way you placed the sliced oranges on the cake..such a refreshing presentation!

  9. So beautiful, just loved the oranges ...

    the lines reminds me so much about my mother

    "Joy can be found in simple pleasures ...
    setting the table
    arranging flowers
    and humming. "

    except the humming part:)

    as usual treat to the eyes and inspiration that simple things can bring so much pleasure. thanks for posting !!

  10. Lovely pictures. Everything looks so good and inviting and just right. You have a very beautiful home and the photos are marvelous. @Samanta

  11. The clutter out of the camera's view! That is so true! In my house it is the pile of tablescaping "accoutrements" waiting to be carried down to their spot in the basement! My Valentine present was another of those chrome racks from Costco, as the collection seems to grow!
    I love your table, those flowers brighten up the coldest dreary day!

    I don't remember a fancy table growing up, but it was always set for dinner, no paper plates, that's for sure! I have the initialed flatware she used for everyday. I think my mom sent for it with Betty Crocker boxtops. I was told it is very collectible today. Who knew? :)
    Wishing you sunshine!

  12. Oh, you have perked me up this rainy thursday morn!! I'm still waiting for the sun, here in the south, but now I know when it comes I'm getting my fun stuff out!
    Going to call the girlfriends, set my table and make your asparagas a great bottle (or 2!) and feel happy!
    Your photography is always awesome. I spend my time doing freelance photography and often come here for, thanks!!

  13. This is so inspiration, Lee, that I went to the grocery store today and bought a huge bag of oranges.

    I put them in an orange bowl and they are brightening my kitchen counter.

  14. I loved your comments on my blog! I too am trying to (still) lose the holiday pounds and now a whole suitcase of chocolate bars - what am I going to do?

    This is just gorgeous! I love your bottom plate with its exquisite texture. I agree, it is fun to shop the house too and come up with fun ideas. Your tart is just exquisite! Definitely something I am pinning for a party dish!

    Hope all is well in your busy busy life!

  15. Here comes the sun indeed! I love it dancing across your table highlighting your flowers, oranges, napkins & your asparagus TART! What a perfect tablecloth too. I feel like I just had a vitamin C boost soaking up all this orange & sunshiny goodness :)

  16. Beautiful table...the orange touches add so much brightness.

  17. What lovely tablescapes, and what a delicious and easy recipe for your asparagus tart. Your cake is absolutely gorgeous as well. I love angel food cake!

  18. I absolutely love your blog, eagerly await new posts and can't wait to see your new home.
    I would love ideas as to how people store and organize all the recipes for Foodie Friday. I am starting on my fourth file box and this simply can't continue. HELP!! How does everyone keep up with all these recipes.
    Thanks so much, Any help would be great, the file boxes are taking over my closet.

    Mary L

  19. The beautiful food only makes the beautiful table even more inviting! Your tart is gorgeous! I have a bundle of asparagus just waiting to be cooked, and I think I might try this! Gorgeous table linen!!!!!!

  20. so many beautiful images... your lighting is wonderful~ citrus is abundant now on our trees so i was instantly drawn in, been at the beach for a week and half, on my way home now and eager to play with my fruits... omg to your tart and cake, both pure art~

  21. I love this table setting! And the menu..yum! Thanks for the inspiration!
    Gina @ AlwaysSavory